Telling Time

In Mom’s house there are 87+ clocks – alarm, wrist, wall, digital, atomic, pocket, coo coo, chiming, antique – you name it, she probably has it (with the exception of a Grandfather clock, but she does have her grandfather’s).

When the time changes twice a year – from Standard Time to Daylight Savings Time and back again to Standard Time – time changes at Mom’s house, too.

When she and Dad were in better healthy, they changed the time on every clock in their house twice a year – at least the ones that kept time.  The clocks that didn’t keep time marked the last second they did and those of us familiar with where those clocks were knew not to count on them for telling time.

As the burden to change time grew heavier with age, they decided to change only those clocks they relied on and those that announced the time audibly with chimes or coo coos.

  • three in their bedroom (two alarm and one wall)
  • one in the spare bedroom
  • four in the kitchen
  • two in the bathroom
  • one in the half bath
  • five in the living room
  • two in the dining room (or was it three?)
  • one in the washroom
  • four in the den
  • their wristwatches
  • one in the car

That’s still a lot of clocks – and in the number above, I’ve not counted clocks on appliances, TVs, VCR/DVD players, etc.

And to those of us who visited only a couple of times a year, it could be confusing.  One tends to trust a clock to portray the correct time.  An hour off one way or the other can make life interesting – and frustrating. Add to that the fact that we were in a different time zone and our cell phones didn’t always change time as quickly as we needed them to…we didn’t know which clock to trust.

After Dad’s death last year, we moved near Mom a month or so before time fell back to Standard Time. Mom decided to change only those clocks that SHE depended on.

  • one in their bedroom
  • two in the kitchen
  • one in the bathroom
  • one in the living room
  • her wristwatch

The problem was, during the two months I had stayed with Mom after Dad’s death, and the month (or so) after our move here, I became dependent on several clocks that she apparently was NOT dependent upon.

Mom said the clocks she chose not to change reflect the correct time at some point during the year so it’s a simple task of remembering which show Standard Time and which show Daylight Savings Time.


No longer moving between time zones, I came to trust my cell phone for time keeping and dismissed the guess-the-time game with clocks at her house.

Except for last week.

I was visiting Mom and it seemed time was moving slowly. The clock on the table beside me chimed and I dismissed the count – I’d ceased counting chimes months ago…too confusing trying to remember if this clock chimed true time or not.

The clock on the living room wall indicated 6 pm plus a few minutes. I commented to Mom that it was yet early and I was surprised…seemed I’d been there far longer than the time showed.

She asked which clock I was keeping time with and I pointed to the one on the wall – one I had become accustomed to using before time sprang forward. She, in turn, pointed to the small clock atop her TV.

It was after 7 pm and quickly moving toward half past.

A quick check of my cell phone revealed the joke was on me and that old habits die hard.

Did I change the time on the clock on the living room wall to reflect the current time?


When time falls back to Standard in the Fall, it will keep the proper time until time changes again next Spring.  I’ll just remember to treat it like those that chime: ignore it and the time it offers me.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.  Fool me three times and I’ll take your batteries out.