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Stinko! As I wound the ship’s clock I heard the dreaded ‘snap’ within announcing the winding coil has snapped. The clock still tells the time but it no longer can chime the hours and half hours. This is quite a downer for Urs Truly. There are few clock- repairmen left and thems who are still open have a long waiting list. It is not unheard of to have to wait six months or more for a simple repair job – if he can repair it at all.  Oh the pain.

Stinko indeed. 

I grew up with ships clocks.  For thems unfamiliar with such timepieces, they have brass chimes, referred to as ‘bells’.  An odd number of bells chime on the half hour; the hours get an even number of chimes. Eight bells announces 12, 4, and 8 for AM and PM. Beloved eight bells traditionally herald the end of a sailor’s four hour work shift.  1230, 430 and 830 start the cycle again with one bell. Over the next four hours the chimes increase to eight bells.  One doesn’t have to be near a clock to know the time. The bells strike and you sit up slightly and count – and you get the time. *

I’ve heard ship clock chimes all my life.  Whenever they strike I get a little smile of serenity.  Sometimes in response I say out loud “I love my ship’s clock!” in a sort of prayer of gratitude.

All my brothers have one, as does Father. Mine was purchased in an antique store in Key West, Florida, back in my salad days of the late 90s.  Goodness knows how old it is. I’ve lost count how many times something has gone bad with it and I’ve had to shell out mega-bucks to get it repaired.  I suspect the money poured into it would pay for several new clocks and then some. **  

Like a favorite car or shirt, I don’t want to give it up. By now it just may be too expensive to have it repaired. I have to face facts it is ‘eight bells’ for my beloved ship’s clock. I suppose I can ask Santa for a new one but I will probably one sooner – if not soon as possible. I would greatly miss the every thirty chimes that elicit warm memories and give me comfort.  

*There is a ‘challenge’ here. Example: if you hear 7 bells, it is either 1130 or 330 or 730. One can usually deduce if it is AM or PM and which of the three times is right. 🙂 

**My clock must be regularly wound with a turn key. There are two key holes: one  for the chimes and another for the clock itself.  The new ones are battery run. This makes sense but I will sorely miss the routine of regular winding. 

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