Press-Republican

November 6, 2011

Little bit of time

GORDIE LITTLE, Small Talk
Press-Republican

---- — 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.

Kaye and I have never wanted or needed an alarm clock. Regardless of early appointments, we're always up in plenty of time, even when she was scheduled to be in the kitchen of a local michigans restaurant at 6 a.m. during the summer.

GOES BY FAST

I've always been a student of this whole time-concept thing with all its ramifications. I work hard when I'm having fun to make it appear to slow down. When things aren't going quite so well, I try to speed it up. I have a question for you: Why is it that as I grow older, time seems to go faster and faster? From Sunday to Sunday now feels like about three days. When I was 14, time moved ponderously. I couldn't wait for 16 so I could get my driver's license. Then I couldn't wait for 18 so I could vote. So it went until I reached a point when the old clock on the wall began to turn faster and faster. I'm reminded of a great song by Chicago recorded in 1969: "Does Anybody Really Know What Time it is?"

With digital clocks on our cellphones and computers, we can get close to the exact time whenever we want. You certainly can't do that by walking around my house and looking at all those round clock faces. It's impossible for me to synchronize them because of their age. And, to tell the truth, it doesn't matter to me if it takes five minutes for all of them to chime 12 o'clock. Heck, I even have a great old mantle clock that likes 12 o'clock so well it also chimes a dozen times at 1.

Set your clocks back an hour, change batteries in your smoke detectors, have a great day, and please, drive carefully.

Gordie Little was for many years a well-known radio personality in the North Country and now hosts the "Our Little Corner" television program for Home Town Cable. Anyone with comments for him may send them to the newspaper or email him at gordandk@aol.com.