What Time Is It?

When I was taught to tell time there were no digital clocks or watches. I was taught about the short hand and the long hand. If the long hand was on the right side between 12 and 6, we said so many minutes “after” and if the long hand was on the left side between 6 and 12, we said so many minutes “til”. We were taught to count by five's from 12 either left or right to the number that the long hand pointed to. For example, If the long hand was on 3 we would count by five's from 12 to 3 and say, “15 minutes after”.

If you’re half my age I’m sure you remember telling time this way. We still have clocks and watches with the round faces and the two hands but “time telling “ language has changed. We now live in a digital time age.

I wonder what my grandfather would have thought if, for example, someone had said that it was one-forty-five. He probably would have thought that either they couldn’t tell time or their watch was broken.

We had a small wind-up clock that sat on the mantelpiece. My grandparents had a large wind-up clock that had a pendulum that clicked off the seconds. It would strike out the time on the hour.

The largest time piece in town was the courthouse clock. In those days it was powered by large weights that had to be rewound every few days. The time also had to be corrected often. For many years Mr. Harry Redwine took pride in doing the job. Mr. Redwine is now gone and the old clock retired even earlier. The courthouse now has an electric clock.

My daddy was a watch “fixer”. His desk top at home was always filled with watches and a few old clocks needing repair. There was no jewelry store nearby and no one else was a watch repair person so Daddy got all of the business. This was not a very profitable business. He just enjoyed working with watches and clocks.

Daddy made sure that I always had a watch. It was usually a “dollar watch” made by the Ingersoll Watch Company. These pocket watches had a short life and were seldom repaired since they only cost $1.00.

Later I owned a Timex watch. This too was a cheap watch but it was a considerable improvement over the dollar watch. John Cameron Swayze, a news correspondent became the spokesman for Timex. I can still hear him saying, “ It can take a licking and keep on ticking”. He was on early television ads where the Timex was exposed to all kinds of rough treatment and then shown to still be working. The Timex is still around and I think it is the best buy in time-ware.

Now that I’m retired I never wear a watch. I still watch the clock to make sure I don’t miss some of my favorite TV programs and to make sure I’m not late to church, but I just live in the now as much as possible.