Legal Quandary

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Cuckoo's Nest

My Grandma and Grandpa had a Cuckoo Clock hung just inside the front door of their house. Although my Grandpa died when I was pretty young, I can still picture him winding the clock every night before bed. Either Grandma or Grandpa would wind the clock again during the day, but I'm pretty sure Grandpa always wound it at night.

My father sent the clock to my grandparents while he was stationed in Germany. I'm pretty sure it wasn't something he would have picked out for himself since we never had one in our house, but I think he knew that it was a gift that his parents would enjoy and treasure.

After my Grandpa died, the clock remained in the same place. Somehow I never noticed that my Grandma never wound the clock, and that its hands were forever frozen at 5 o'clock. I guess initially I was too young or busy to pay attention. Later, I just figured that the Alzheimer's caused her to forget or just that she just physically wasn't capable anymore.

When my dad died last year and I started to clean out the house, I asked my aunt if she would mind if I took the clock. She asked me if I was sure I wanted it and then told me the story of why the clock was never wound.

Although we usually traveled to Fort Wayne as a family, my dad drove from Omaha alone as a surprise for Grandpa's 65th birthday. As far as I know, the birthday celebration itself went fine, but my dad and Grandpa argued bitterly the night before my dad was supposed to leave. As is so often the case, no one really remembers what they argued about. That night, my Grandpa wound the clock as usual. When my father stormed out of the house at 5 am the following morning, he slammed the door so hard that the clock stopped. Grandpa predicted that he wouldn't see my dad again. He didn't wind the clock that night or any other night before he died a few weeks later.

In nearly thirty years, no one else wound the clock either.

Until now. My father and both my grandparents have died. I would like to believe they've resolved their differences by now and would be happy to know that the clock now hangs just inside MY front door and that I wind it every night. And that if I don't, it's only because I forget and not out of anger.

What a sad and beautiful story. You have an eye for detail and a writing style that I often envy.

I'd like to think your father and your grandfather have made amends too.
Ditto the comment (supra)

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