Press-Republican

Columns

November 6, 2011

Little bit of time

Halloween is behind us, and so is daylight saving time. If you didn't turn the clocks back an hour overnight, you're possibly having a rather confusing Sunday morning. Some people were no doubt flummoxed by the change from years past. This way, at least, it was a bit brighter longer for young trick-or-treaters on Halloween.

Whatever clock system is used by our fire station is confused by the later move back to Eastern Standard Time. As I wrote this column at 1 p.m. during the week, the phone rang. When the caller heard the siren sounding, she said, "Uh oh, you must have a fire call." "Nope," I responded, "It's just the noon siren." That comment, of course, had to be followed by an explanation. One consolation is that the error only lasted for a week.

I have lots of clocks, and most of them more ancient than I. Since I'm rather long in the tooth, that means they are also older than dirt. The hands on some modern clocks can be moved both backward and forward, making the biannual chore an easy one for me. On these antiques, however, I must push the hands only clockwise waiting for the chimes and moving on. I planned to start early last evening in order to be finished by bedtime.

GOOD TIMING

This was the busiest Halloween season yet for my ghost-story-telling gigs. The more places I went, the more fun I had. There were schools, retired teachers' meetings, bonfires at campgrounds and farms, senior citizen groups, businesses and private homes. Each was gratifying. I picked up many new stories in the process. New books will result.

While enjoying a group at a Plattsburgh school, the organizer told me I had one hour to speak and offered to tap on her watch when my time was up. I said there was no need, as my life for decades on the radio involved being chased by a clock. Every second had to be accounted for, and all segments of the day required precise timing. Because of that, I'm almost always aware of what time it is, even without looking at a clock. As forecast, I looked down at my watch with one minute to go and counted down the last 17 seconds until my hour was up.

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