Thursday, July 3, 2008

My Grandfather's Clock by Henry Clay Work

My Grandfather's Clock

My grandfather's clock
Was too large for the shelf,
So it stood ninety years on the floor;
It was taller by half
Than the old man himself,
Though it weighed not a pennyweight more.
It was bought on the morn
Of the day that he was born,
And was always his treasure and pride;
But it stopped short
Never to go again,
When the old man died.

Ninety years without slumbering,
Tick, tock, tick, tock,
His life seconds numbering,
Tick, tock, tick, tock,
It stopped short
Never to go again,
When the old man died.

In watching its pendulum
Swing to and fro,
Many hours had he spent while a boy;
And in childhood and manhood
The clock seemed to know,
And to share both his grief and his joy.
For it struck twenty-four
When he entered at the door,
With a blooming and beautiful bride;
But it stopped short
Never to go again,
When the old man died.

My grandfather said
That of those he could hire,
Not a servant so faithful he found;
For it wasted no time,
And had but one desire,
At the close of each week to be wound.
And it kept in its place,
Not a frown upon its face,
And its hand never hung by its side.
But it stopped short
Never to go again,
When the old man died.

It rang an alarm
In the dead of the night,
An alarm that for years had been dumb;
And we knew that his spirit
Was pluming for flight,
That his hour of departure had come.
Still the clock kept the time,
With a soft and muffled chime,
As we silently stood by his side.
But it stopped short
Never to go again,
When the old man died.

Ninety years without slumbering,
Tick, tock, tick, tock,
His life seconds numbering,
Tick, tock, tick, tock,
It stopped short
Never to go again,
When the old man died.
--Henry Clay Work

This song was written in 1876 after the author heard a local legend about a clock that stopped working after its owners died. It seems to be generally accepted that this song is the origin of the term Grandfather Clock -- before, they were known as “long case clocks.” I’m happy to say that Grandpa’s Grandfather clock and Cuckoo clock are ticking again in his house in Huntington Beach. It makes it feel like he’s still there somehow.

OK, on the subject of time, let’s recap this month:
  • May 28th - my birthday didn’t start out like I wanted :( but I made a cake and threw myself a party, and it was better :).
  • June 2nd - My friend Traci died :(. It looked like it might have been suicide, but then again maybe not.
  • June 3rd - Peter goes to work to find out that half the company, including him has lost their jobs :(.
  • June 5th - My Sister in Law, Miriam, flies in to town :) for the funeral :(.
  • June 6th - We get to spend some time together :) as we drive to Riverside through horrible traffic :(, to see old friends :), some of whom are making bad decisions :(.
  • June 7th - Miriam’s friend/roommate Holly comes over to visit :). Miriam and I tie the quilt I’ve been working on :).
  • June 9th - Drive to Riverside again, this time traffic is better :), but we’re there for the funeral :(. Elizabeth lets us know that she’s DONE with driving :(.

  • June 10th - Miriam goes home :(. I try to get some work done on my Manga, but I can’t concentrate :(. I teach a class on origami at enrichment :).
  • June 11th - I write a blog post :), but it’s about Traci’s death, and the process is emotionally draining :(.
  • June 12th - I write a blog post :), but it’s about Peter getting laid off, and it’s emotionally draining :(. I go to see Grandma and Grandpa Stay :). Grandpa is shockingly worse than I’ve seen him :( -- he fell sometime during the last week and went to the hospital for a day or two, but he’s home now and everybody says he’s looking better :).
  • June 13th - I try to get a handle on my life now that it’s calmed down some :). But with Elizabeth not sleeping well :(, and the Manga that I just can’t make myself work on :(, and the housework that has been piling up :(, and sheer exhaustion setting in :(, I feel like I’ll never get anything done :(. A friend offers to take Elizabeth for a few hours so I can work and sleep :), but before I can get her over there, I get a call saying that Grandpa doesn’t have long to live, and I should go down and say goodbye :(.

  • June 14th - I do a marathon tidy and deep clean so everything will be nice when the in-laws come :). I’m exhausted :(.
  • June 15th - Father’s day :). Peter is sad that I didn’t make French toast for breakfast before church :( (I thought he wanted it for lunch after church). I teach a primary class about reverence :), but there is a little boy with special needs who is anything but for much of the class :(, though Elizabeth was especially good. Peter likes the cards Elizabeth and I made for him :).

  • June 16th - Peter’s family arrives :) later than planned :(, and we go out to dinner :), but Elizabeth is tired and grumpy :(.
  • June 17th - Grandpa Jesse died :(. I get a blog post written before Peter’s family arrives from the hotel :). I also finish the quilt :). We spend the day relaxing at our house :), and the afternoon at the beach :). We go out to dinner again that night :), but Elizabeth is tired and grumpy :(.

  • June 18th - We get started too late in the day to go to the zoo :(, but we go to the Tar Pits instead :). Afterwards, I convince people that it’s be easier for me to make dinner for everybody than to take a tired and grumpy Elizabeth to another restaurant :).

  • June 19th - We go kayaking :). Elizabeth really needs to be able to nap without distraction, and is tired and grumpy while we’re there :(. We have fun :), but get sunburned :(. We take some great family photos at the park :). We try two restaurants without any luck :( before getting a table at the third :).

  • June 20th - I realize that half of my dad’s side of the family will be in town :) for the funeral :( this weekend, but they’ll almost all go away again :( by Monday to be back in Utah for the interment. I decide to take Elizabeth and visit with the Stays rather than the Ahlstroms today. They’re very understanding about it :), but it’s hard saying goodbye that morning :(. With the Stays, we talk :), eat :) and go to the beach :), just like Grandpa would’ve wanted, and our only regret was that he wasn’t there to ride the waves with us :(. Elizabeth thinks the beach is fun :), but tiring :(.

  • June 21st - Grandpa’s funeral :(. He was a great man :). We’ll miss him :(. More talking with family :). Elizabeth still can’t get her naps in the heat and distraction :(. Mom comes home with us to spend the night :). Elizabeth is happy to snuggle down with her own rainbow blanket :) and green blanket :) and Elephant music box :) and pacifier :) in her own bed :) in a quiet familiar room :) and SLEEPS :).

  • June 22nd - We go to church, and then relax at home :) with Mom :). My washing machine decides to start making horrible squeaking noises like it’s about to fall apart :(.
  • June 23rd - Back to Grandma’s to spend the day with Mike and family :). We go to a science museum, which is fun :) but also noisy and distracting for you-know-who :(. I’m totally beat, and have another plugged milk duct :(. Even though her cousins (especially Martin) are kind and helpful to her :), by the time we get home to Grandma’s, Elizabeth is hot :( and overtired :(, and screams like something possessed for a solid hour or more :(. I’m so tired I could literally fall over :(. Mike and family head home to Mt. View :(. Mom and Dad take me home :). Daddy thinks a single spring is loose on the washer :). Mom does some mending for me :). I sleep.

  • June 24th to 26th - Daddy fixes the washing machine :). I get the housework caught up :). I do some weeding in the back yard :). Mom makes a Queen Elizabeth dress for Elizabeth :).

  • June 27th - One last day at the beach :) before Mom and Dad leave on Monday :(. It was BEAUTIFUL :)! The water was perfect :), the tide was high :), the heat wave had broken :), the sand crabs were out :), and Daddy found a bullet proof vest in the sand :)!

  • June 28th - I stay up far too late :( sorting pictures and decluttering :). I can’t get to sleep until I take some Benadryl at 1:30 am.
  • June 29th - I think I have to teach a lesson in Sunday School, so I forget to bring a bottle for Elizabeth. We both have a rough Sacrament Meeting, so when I find out I don’t have to teach till next week, I decide to head off a panic attack and just go to Grandma’s for one last day with Mom and Dad. We have a good meal :) and a good talk :) and take some good pictures :), before saying goodbye :(.

  • June 30th - Mom and Dad leave for Mike’s house :(.
  • July 1st - I work on my Manga and weeding :). Anxiety level is up and it’s hard to eat :(.
  • July 2nd - I do weeding all day long :). Peter takes care of Elizabeth :). When he comes to tell me she’s hungry at about 6pm, I’ve reached the back of the house, and have rocks and flagstones over plastic to keep the weeds from coming back :). There’s another hour or so of work to get it completely done, but I’ve been working on this project for a year now, and it’s finally done :)!!!! I stop working realizing that I’m light headed, all my muscles are shaking, and I’ve got a sunburn :(.
  • July 3rd - Today I’ve got my Manga done :), so I met my goal of two last month, but they say there won’t be more for next month, so that’s more money that won’t be coming in :(. Elizabeth was getting back on a nap schedule :), but today she just won’t fall asleep :(. Life is getting sort of back to normal again :), but there are still so many unknowns :(. I’m working hard to fight off another breakdown. I just hope I can find ways to let the stress from this last month go so I can focus on the future. I love my family, and I love being with them, but it’s hard when you don’t know what’s going to be happening fifteen minutes from now let alone a day, week, or month in the future. I’m tired. I’m emotionally and physically worn out, and I don’t really know how to recuperate. Do I try to relax? Or should I work hard? Should I get a part time job? Or would that just make it hard for Elizabeth? Will we be able to pay the bills? Will we be able to sell our home for what we owe? If we do, where do we go next? Will Peter find a job? I just don’t have any answers, and I don’t have any hope that they’ll appear anytime soon. I’m tired.


  1. I love the austere expression Elizabeth has in all her pictures in the queen dress. Appropriately regal.
    Miriam, I like your hair that way!
    And Peter looks like the new James Bond guy in those pictures where he has a beard starting.
    Thanks for the lovely pictures, Karen. And thanks for your write up about everything that happened in June and surrounding the funeral. Do you have a link to a recording of the Grandfather Clock song? All I can remember of the tune is how the chorus goes. Or maybe I'll just call you and you can sing it to me. :) Oh, and Dad found a BULLET PROOF VEST ON THE BEACH!?! I can't think of any non-dangerous experiments he might try with that, but it would have been nice to have that back when we did my body armor science project!
    Thanks again, Karen. And happy Independence Day, everyone!

  2. Here are the june pictures for anybody that missed them.

    Yeah, we really lucked out on her expression -- of course, we were outside and the light was brighter than she likes it, and she was tired and ready for a walk and nap, and I picked the most queenly ones to share with you, so it's not all luck.

    Here's a youtube of part of the song with some really weird animation.

    We had seen some odd black thing half buried in sand for days as we kept going back to the beach, so on the last day Daddy picked it up and rinsed it off and said, "Hey Becky, Do you want this neat black vest that's all covered in velcro for some costume thing? It's got a bunch of neat pockets too." Mom looked at the soggy sandy thing in distaste and said, "Why would I want that?" But she took a closer look, and it was indeed covered with velcro fuzz, which you could stick all kinds of neat greebly patches and things onto, and it was adjustable in size with the velcro side and shoulder straps, and had a neat military look to it, so she said, "well maybe." As we were looking even more closely, Daddy said, "I wonder what it means by 'Protection ends here.'" pointing at a spot just below the shoulder straps. I said, "Maybe it's a bulletproof vest!" There are other words on it like the brand name which is something like "second chance" that make us pretty certain. Looking at their website, I'm not sure whether it's really bulletproof, or if it's just a carrier that you insert a bulletproof panel into the front and back of, but it's still really cool.

  3. What a fun bunch of pictures. I especially liked the ones in which Elizabeth looks like a little princess--dressed in the pink and white. Was this a special occasion? Was Miriam in some of the pictures? I haven't met her, so I assume that might be her in some of them.

    Very very nice~--K

  4. The dress was a silly dress-up thing that Mom and I did. I had the VERY poofy white outfit with lace and rosebuds and ruffles, and that collar that just wouldn't lay down, and I couldn't imagine using it for everyday wear. I was about to put it into the bag to get rid of, when I thought that when the collar stands up, it looks Elizabethan. That made me think that it would be cute to dress Elizabeth up as a very young Queen Elizabeth and take some pictures. Mom and I went to the store and bought some watermarked satin, and I found some pretty ribbon that I had been keeping for just this sort of thing, and we made the little skirt (Mom did a good job putting french seam and rolled hems and stuff, and used elastic at the waist so it can be used for years as Elizabeth starts to toddle around and care about playing dress-up). Then I looked around for a crown and tried a couple of headbands and neclaces before I settled on this one -- it's supposed to be a choker, and it's on a very light springy wire, so it stayed on beautifully without pinching her head. Anyway, we went outside to take pictures, and this was the result. One of these days, I'm gonna put on my Elizabethan dress and get somebody to take some more.

    And yes, that's Miriam, if you mean the beautiful redhead in the photo with the blue flowers.