Chimes and cuckoos join the march of time

It is obvious this is the first column of 2021 so, as always, time marches on. With the march of time come many changes and new experiences; none of us really know what they will be, and neither do the Old Men of the Mountain.

Every OMOTM spoken to misses the Tuesday morning gatherings and can’t wait for this virus thing to be over. Sometime (hopefully sooner rather than later) it will be over, and that way we can get ready for the next disaster and that one might be so the group will be able to get together again sans the worries of catching something that may eventually cause the OF’s demise, maybe just warts.

Time marching on brought up two conversations. One was that, during a phone call, the chime of a clock signaling the time sounded and the OF on the other end of the phone heard it. The clock played a little tune and then sounded the time with chimes.

The OF must have been paying little attention to the words of the conversation because he questioned the correctness of the clock’s chimes. After all, it was definitely 10 a.m. but the OF on the other end of the phone distinctly heard 11 ding-dongs.

The OF commented to this scribe that the clock had the wrong time because he heard 11 ding-dongs and the OF knew it was 10 a.m. This scribe said the OF was correct on both counts. It was 10 a.m. and the OF did hear 11 ding-dongs.

While the OF was resetting the clock after changing the batteries, he held the button down too long and went past the correct time by one ding-dong and it was a real pain in the butt to go back and change the time. Now everybody in the house when hearing these chimes subtracts the number by one and the clock is right on the money for telling the time with the ding-dongs.

This brought up another story for the OF about a cuckoo clock. The cuckoo clock was given to his in-laws by this OF way back when. The in-laws hung the clock on the wall in the living room where, when properly wound, it performed its cuckcooing duties right on time.

One time, when the OF’s brother-in-law was quite little, he became quite ill. This illness caused the little one to become very fussy and the only time he really stopped was when he was able to get to sleep, but for some reason the sleep never lasted very long.

The reason for this happening, the father-in-law deduced, was because of that infernal cuckoo clock. Every time it cuckooed the little brother-in-law would wake up and start hollering. The father-in-law at times had a short fuse, and at other times was as calm as could be with all cane breaking around him. 

This was not one of those times. The clock came off the wall and was hurled against the other wall, and smashed. That ended the little cuckoo’s role of announcing time to the world. It cuckooed no more, and the young brother-in-law found longer times of restful sleep. 

This scribe found out what happened when he went to gather up the pieces of the broken cuckoo clock, put them in a brown paper bag (no plastic in those days) and brought it home.

With some string, rubber bands, and carpenter’s glue, the decorative case was back together, but the little bird came out very limp, and when he finished announcing the time his little head was looking at the floor, then it would spring back and retreat behind his crooked little door until the next time.

This scribe thinks that clock is still around some place waiting to cuckoo once more.


Life saver

Another thing about time and the phone calls. When speaking to one of the OFs the OF let the scribe know that 2021 put him one year closer to 100 years old.

Except for driving, the OF is as alert as ever and a good conversationalist. Just to remember that fact is interesting in itself. This OF saved the life of this scribe way back when we were a lot younger. This was in the middle forties and the scribe was about 12 years old or so.

We were working filling a silo with the corn being pulled automatically from the wagon. It was getting close to the end of this load and this scribe had a pitchfork and was raking the tailings onto the table that carried the corn to the chopper.

Unexpectedly his sweatshirt became caught in the chain and was pulling him onto the table to the chopper. This scribe could not pull back hard enough nor could this scribe reach anything to shut it down. Just then, the OF that is close to 100 came around from the side of the wagon and saw the situation.

This OF grabbed the scribe, pulled him back, and shut down the equipment seconds before the scribe was on his way to the chopper. Ah, the fun of farming.


Good kisser

Soon after the original three OFs that started this group, the OF approaching 100 and this scribe joined the three of them for breakfast and the OMOTM was underway.

As this phone conversation was ending, the OF told the scribe, “Give your wife a kiss from me.”

Locating the wife in her most un-favorite spot near the laundry room this scribe complied with that request. When the startled wife asked why she was the recipient of the kiss, the scribe related the phone call, to which she replied, “Wow, Mike is sure a good kisser.”