NORMAN — My father was always head over heels in love with my mom; they married after he had returned home from World War II in November 1945. She remained the love of his life until her untimely death at age 54 in 1970.
My dad would often write notes to my mom before leaving for work; I found a number of them hidden away in a cookie jar in which she kept her recipes.
One summer, my dad decided to include my brother, sister and me in a project for a Christmas surprise for Mom. At my grandmother’s house, there was an old pendulum clock that had been in the family since my mom was a child. It had been in disrepair for years but had not been discarded.
One warm summer morning, we accompanied our dad to our grandmother’s house and retrieved the long forgotten clock out of a storage shed. Its beauty was still evident, but restoration was going to be a challenge.
It first went to the shop of a friend of my dad who was a carpenter. He restored the ornate wood to perfect condition. After that the clock was taken to a jeweler and was repaired to working order, chimes and all.
Christmas morning arrived. My dad had covered a large box with wrapping paper and placed this over the clock on a desk in our dining room. It was set to chime at 8 a.m., when we would be sitting down to breakfast. We all gathered around the table and my little brother began to say grace.
His prayer was interrupted by the chimes of the clock. We all looked at Mom, anxious to see her reaction. It was as if she knew immediately the chimes were coming from the old family clock. The look that she and my dad exchanged was priceless. The many hours that my dad had put into restoring the clock for my mother were a reflection of his love for her and he had included my brother, sister, and me in the surprise.
To this day, I love pendulum clocks. They remind me of that magic Christmas morning many years ago when my dad’s Christmas gift to my mother was truly a labor of love.
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