This year, I aim to be happy and know peace inside and out.

For each of us, peace may mean something different. And for sure, we each get there on our terms. Maintaining a peaceful balance amid change, which we are all experiencing, is essential to our well-being.

To maintain peace, one thing I do is remember moments that have made me smile. This week I remembered my grandfather and his grandfather clock. He passed when I was five, but I remember him like he was here yesterday. And I remember he loved that grand clock. Perhaps, it was because, in a home of all women (his son passed when he was a young man), he had a kindred spirit with which he could see eye to eye as they both stood at a stately six foot, four inches tall. With its brass and ivory face, the mahogany encased clock stood in the corner between the fireplace and the baby grand piano.

Grampa had blue eyes and a full head of silvery gray hair. His kind smile let me know he loved me. I was always welcome to watch him putter in the garden, play with Sport – his dog, and watch him tinker with anything electronic or had an engine. He would greet me at breakfast with, “Little lady, your smile lights up a room.” We were kindred spirits.

At times I would catch him staring into the face of the grandfather clock, formerly referred to as the longcase clock, until the song “My Grandfather’s Clock” inspired people to refer to these clocks as “grandfather.”  I’m not sure what Grampa was thinking. Perhaps he hoped to be inspired by those who came before him in their quest to keep accurate timing. Or maybe, he was a time when we remembered to slow down and think about such things as time. He had gold pocket watches harkening back to his days working on the train and a large mantle clock, so I surmise he was generally fascinated with time—something I inherited.

During the day, I barely noticed the clock chiming to mark each hour. But at night, I would sometimes awaken and wait for its pendulum voice to call with the time up the long staircase. Night and day, “tick, tock, tick tock, tick tock,” it would say as the pendulum swung back and forth. Each swing took the same length of time to complete, thus making for a nearly perfect marking of time and providing comfort in knowing it was faithful.

The face of the clock, which included a moon dial that kept pace with the lunar cycle, was protected by a glass window secured in a mahogany bonnet – the style of the top of the clock mimicked a lady’s bonnet. The hands were black, and the numerals were in English font. Its base was also mahogany, housed the brass pendulum, and was locked with a brass skeleton key. Occasionally, I saw Grampa take out his pocket watch, adjust the clock’s hands, and wind it.

(A newer, shiny version of Grampa’s clock, but the idea is the same. His was not shiny.)

At the time of his passing, just as in the nursery song, the clock died, too.

My Grandfather’s Clock (Lyrics as sung by Johnny Cash)

My grandfather’s clock was too large for the shelf, so it stood ninety years on the floor

It was taller by half than the old man himself, though it weighed not a pennyweight more.

It was bought on the morn of the day that he was born and was always his treasure and pride

But it stopped short, never to go again when the old man died.

My grandfather said that of those he could hire, not a servant so faithful he found,

For it wasted no time and had but one desire, at the close of each week, to be wound.

And it kept in its place, not a frown upon its face,  and its hands never hung by its side.

But it stopped short, never to go again, when the old man died.

It rang and alarmed in the dead of the night, an alarm that for years had been dumb.

And we knew that his spirit was pluming for flight, that his hour for departure had come.

Still, the clock kept the time with a soft and muffled chime as we silently stood by his side,

But it stopped short, never to go again, when the old man died.

Ninety years without slumbering, his life seconds numbering,

It stopped short, never to go again,

When the old mand died.

(Lyrics – Eric Doll/Henry Clay Work)