Time Changes

When the time change demands, the clock/radio in the bedroom requires flipping a switch and running through every minute to reset. Springing forward means only zipping through 60 digital numerals to adjust the hour, but the fall change requires going through an entire 23-hour cycle, which takes a couple minutes on fast mode.

A few days after the time shift, I had a restless night. I glanced too often at the clock, and finally at 4:43, I got up. Something felt wrong. The light outside wasn’t right.

It was actually almost 6:00. I reset the clock to correspond with my watch and felt something akin to the willies. Who had reset the clock/radio? No one but me was in the house. Did I sleepwalk and change this complicated clock? I checked the other clocks, and none blinked as if there had been a power outage.

All day long I pondered the mysterious clock change, then in late afternoon I went in the bedroom and noticed the clock was once again wrong. I tried to set it, and the red digits flickered rapidly but wouldn’t change. The radio emitted only caustic static.


There was only one conclusion—the clock was broken. I hadn’t sleepwalked. Jim’s spirit hadn’t changed the clock to tease me. (Okay, I had considered that possibility.)

Jim had bought that Sears clock/radio before we were married. In the first few years of our lives together, we moved a few times, and that clock was a constant. It was there in our bedroom telling us we were home, no matter where we were.

We rarely used the buzzing alarm. Our internal clocks woke us most mornings unless we had to be somewhere earlier than the normal work/school routine.

Through several decades I would glance at that clock in the night:

            Wow, the baby slept four hours straight.

            Okay, it’s time he can have more Tylenol.

            Seriously, that boy is just now getting in!

            Why can’t I go back to sleep?

The clock that had seen me through 45 years of thick and thin and thinner had expired. There was nothing to do but unplug it and take it outside to the trash cart, which I’d already pushed to the curb. I carried the clock as if I were a pallbearer, and I laid it to rest on top of winter-dried hydrangea blossoms I’d pruned that afternoon.

I took that clock for granted. It had always been there for me. Always. The brand new one has bigger numbers and a USB charging port and tells the temperature and has a battery backup. It will serve me well in these modern times. But it will never take the place in my mind of our trusted Sears clock/radio.

These changing times…are sometimes hard.