With more time at home, there is more time to think about what makes a house a home. Yes we built this house and there are the fancy touches, the designer accents, the unique pieces that have caught Barb's eye, and the few technical geegaws I try, often unsuccessfully, to operate (are you listening, Alexa?) But today I am thinking of a few things that precede this 3-year-old adventure. I have in mind a few pieces that have been with us for 35 years or so, things that have been in our possession since Barb's mother Bea passed away in the early years of our marriage. Little pieces of legacy.
A Timeless Clock
I don't know how this piece found its way into Barb's household. It is a wall clock with a wooden frame, a mother of pearl face and a key-wound spring mechanism. Family legend describes it as a "French Bakery Clock" and web research suggests it was made around 1900 in the Mobier area of France. The frame is badly cracked, and despite the careful ministrations of a co-worker's father who had an interest in old clocks, the little treasure no longer keeps time. But it hangs in the loft bedroom, where someday one of our grandkids will see it and ask Nana and Baba to tell them the story of the beautiful clock.
I have one recipe in my cooking arsenal. And when I want to brown the ground turkey, onions, jalapeño peppers, and garlic for a batch of my 4-alarm chili, I grab the WearEver frying pan, part of a set that was the go-to pots-and-pans set for Barb growing up. It is all aluminum and while the outer surface shows the residue of decades of frying, the cooking surface is bright and shiny and holds up well to an SOS pad. Some people, worried about aluminum being absorbed into their food, won't cook with aluminum pans, but Cook's Illustrated calls it perfectly safe and I'm going with that. Besides, I'd rather ingest a few aluminum molecules than a bunch of tiny Teflon particles. Or virus particles.
My Grandfather's Clock Was Too Large For The Shelf
Barb's dad Lee was a great salesman. He won lots of sales prizes. A microwave oven. The original version of the video game Pong. And a grandfather clock. I love that clock. Six feet tall, Westminster chimes, phases of the moon on the face, it has survived and thrived through numerous moves and months in storage. We modified our blueprints for this house to give the clock its own niche, right outside our bedroom door. Every five days I pull the chains to raise the weights and carefully adjust the pendulum to ensure the clock maintains perfect time. No power failure can stop its course or dull its peal. In the middle of the night, I will sometimes lay awake waiting for it to count out the hour for me. It brings comfort on a sleepless night. And in an odd bit of synchronicity--as I type this the clock is chiming 11, while my radio station is playing Clocks by Coldplay. The world works in mysterious ways.
Three pieces of family history. What will we pass on to our children when we no longer have a need for a house full of "things?" I know they will covet our piano, but I hope they will also find some little things that will remind them of us, and make them happy.
Have a joyous Passover or Easter.
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