“They don’t want anything? Not ANYTHING at all?” He might just as well have been speaking his own native language. His words were equally unfathomable to me.
The Danish grandmother I’d never met had died and the family were disposing of ALL her possessions. Even the farm — a family one for generations —was unwanted. Although it pained them deeply, my in-laws also had to refuse. Their small home was full of their own treasures, unlike ours that had only just begun. So much we would have welcomed; so much we needed. Sadly, all was too large and cumbersome AND expensive to bring Downunder from the other side of our world.
Then a brainstorm struck. “The clock! The one in her 80th birthday photo!” Hubby’s face instantly brightened, obviously picturing the one inspiring my imagination — that old wall clock hanging among a plethora of family photos.
Strong, careful packaging brought our beauty safely on a long sea voyage to its new home, ready to be wound up and resume its work again. Bizarrely, we’ve always needed to hang him slightly off- centre to work accurately — obviously he required adjustment to younger homes and a different climate. Since he’s lived in our 1878 farmhouse, our Grandfather clock can finally hang ‘pendulum straight’… kindred spirits, maybe?
The intricately hand-carved Oak has mellowed to a glowing golden brown, its door taking up the entire middle section, framed by carved columns. A circular clock face boasts Algerian font style numbers and ornate hour and minute hands, and the bottom section also has a window, revealing the heavily carved old-gold pendulum, gently but steadily swinging its mesmerizing rhythm.
On our first day together, touching and savouring the wonderful carving of this precious recaptured piece of history, we made an unexpected discovery, directly below the pendulum. A small brass plaque with an engraving, when translated from Danish, bears a most important date:
From the Townspeople of Nr. Broby 23/5/1909
Our parents’ memories lived again. The talented local clockmaker had been commissioned by the townspeople to design and create this magnificent timepiece as a wedding present for our grandparents, to celebrate and commemorate the high esteem the people felt for these two fine people, especially our grandfather, even before he became the longest-serving Postmaster AND Bank Manager of their town.
Apparently, whenever a woman had trouble with her spouse through wastefulness, drunkenness, abusive behaviour, she only had to threaten she would call on our Grandfather for most culprits to quiver in their boots, reforming their characters post-haste. Knud Pedersen was a large and strong man, but without violence he achieved his reputation and respect. Impressive.
Little wonder this treasured timepiece has occupied pride of place in the Lounge rooms of our homes for the past 50+ years. The loud, comfy ticking, with single chime on the half hour, and appropriate number of BO-O-N-NGs as the hours go by, are a joy. Their deep and mellow resonance ensures the passing of our decades happen exactly as Life should… at its own sweet rhythm and careful pace.