R.I.P. my copper-colored kitchen clock shaped like a tea kettle. I’m sad to report that it shuffled off this mortal coil several days ago. Well, the truth be told, it was still keeping the proper time when I pulled the plug on it—quite literally—for the last time. I hated to do it. I didn’t like the idea of so unceremoniously consigning it to my recycling bag—with its plastic milk containers, tin tomato sauce cans, and pieces of aluminum foil with so much less history—but felt it best to do the deed as quickly and as painlessly as possible. It was Tuesday when this happened and Wednesday, you know, was recycle pick-up day.
Here’s how it all went down: Very early Tuesday morning, I was awoken by an extremely loud and grinding sound. I didn’t have a clue what it was but—suffice it to say—such noises in dawn’s early light are never appreciated. I feared something untoward was going on in the water pipes. After all, a running toilet a couple of flights above me had been for months running. I wondered, perhaps, if it had it taken a turn for the worse and would soon be pouring down on me. Typically, while in my bathroom, I would hear this never-ending water-on, water-off whoosh. So, as a test, I shut my bathroom door and that persistent grinding sound was louder than ever.
I followed my ear GPS this time into the kitchen and came upon the clock—yes, the copper-colored GE one shaped like a tea kettle. Born in the 1960s sometime, this plug-in clock—those were the only kinds back then—was a family clock for almost three decades. It wasn’t my family’s kitchen clock but a friend’s. But since time waits for no man and no woman, the clock ended up in my friend’s brother’s kitchen until the latter passed away. The family matriarch by that time—an older sister—was poised to give the clock—with its storied life—the old heave-ho. My friend, though, intervened on my behalf. “Nicholas” was, after all, a collector of too many things to count and a nostalgia buff to boot. So, I inherited a spanking new vintage kitchen clock, which was approximately forty years old when it became mine, and it rather inconspicuously ran for another fifteen years, reliably and silently telling me the time of the day when called upon,
Honestly, I thought my kitchen clock would outlive me, just as it had so many others. Come on, it was a GE with an electrical plug no less, and every battery-operated clock that I’ve ever owned has ceased keeping the right time in a lot less time than sixty-five years. Sure, a Mr. Fix-It Guy probably could have repaired the thing and calmed it down for a spell, but I believe it merited going gently into the night and not having its long life prolonged. I made the right decision and recycled it. When the time comes when I’m making such awful grinding sounds, I would want the plug pulled on me just like I did with my copper-colored tea kettle kitchen clock.