(The Story of the Clock)

Some folks have said this story is just something we made up. It’s not. If you are a skeptic, you may not appreciate it as much as the rest of us, but please don’t doubt, because it is true…

The clock was given as a gift on August 26, 1881 to Katherine Lindsay’s family and is labeled inside as an Eight Day Brass Clock manufactured by Seth Thomas. Nothing fancy. Katherine had painted her signature flowers on the glass front, and the face has been re-painted somewhere along the way with an unsteady hand, it’s full of dings and dents.

The clock hangs on the wall behind Charles’ desk and the tradition is to wind it every Sunday. When Charles was alive, all the workers would file in on Sunday mornings, ready to go, and like "clockwork" Charles would yell out at the top of his lungs "Has anyone wound the clock!?". It was a pattern, one of those habits, just like stumbling to the kitchen and making coffee in the morning. One of the men would say, "Yes Charles", and if they hadn’t already, they would dutifully open the glass front, find the key in the dust and turn it so the two heavy weights on either side would climb to the top. This would happen every week, without fail.

One Sunday morning I filed in along with all the other workers, ready to go. As expected, we heard from Charles at his desk, "Has anyone wound the clock!?". I don’t know what it was that morning, but I needed to know why this clock winding ritual, why such urgency? So I asked. Charles looked at me and said in a low voice, "Because when that clock stops, I die.". Now I knew Charles fairly well and I knew he was serious about this. "Oh" I said, and never asked again. I just kept a mental note to help keep that clock running. And it ran. Never stopped, at least as long as I had been around. Then as years past Charles became progressively more ill, finally to the point that we couldn’t care for him at the shop any longer. He moved to the local nursing home, but commuted daily to the shop. The old man worked seven days a week, nine to five. We kept that clock ticking.

Finally Charles did have to leave us. He died on September 8, 1992 at 6:20 p.m. Everyone had left the shop at about 6 to go out for dinner. When we returned, we noticed the clock had stopped at 6:20. The weights were still near the top.

Charles Eagle Plume, 1989