Monday, September 24, 2012

to ticking clocks

My Papa is slipping away...we don't know how long...but he is going to successfully escape to his beloved Jesus...soon...

Dear Papa~

You come to mind every, every time I see the play, Our Town, by Thornton Wilder...there are so many phrases that speak to my memories of you...

“We all know that something is eternal. And it ain’t houses and it ain’t names, and it ain’t earth, and it ain’t even the stars . . . everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that something has to do with human beings. All the greatest people ever lived have been telling us that for five thousand years and yet you’d be surprised how people are always losing hold of it. There’s something way down deep that’s eternal about every human being.

-stage manager, in the play OUR TOWN”
Thornton Wilder, Our Town

"Good-by, Good-by, world. Good-by, Grover's Corners... Mama and Papa. Good-by to clocks ticking... and Mama's sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new-ironed dresses and hot baths...and sleeping and waking up..."
-Emily, Our Town

When I was little, you somehow had charge of me when we went to your house, and when we met at the Clossers...I always somehow assumed that we fell in together because neither of us had any overwhelming purpose in the kitchen or preparing the house for visitors...but I LOVED the took me me on walks where plant names were like the names of friends I was introduced to...we would go berry picking for hours...we came back with less than half of what we helped me find all the pretty weeds for my "flower" bouquets...

You shared books...OH, THE BOOKS!!!  You read to me in your lilting voice for even more hours than I could say...  They smelled of adventure and rejoicing and simple years gone by!  They were full of stories of the same...maybe that is why that's how they smell to me.  I was fascinated by the fact that you wrote not only your name on the fly leaves of your books, but the dates on which you completed reading them...each time...who gave them to you was always also inscribed...

You made poetry beautiful and natural to was never stilted when you read it to made it soothing and a natural outpouring of your heart.  It was as beautiful as if you set your pen to paper and wrote it yourself.

Your clocks were beautiful.  You thrilled me with all the minuscule pieces that you magically crafted into technical works of art.  The hundreds of cubbies of ridiculously confusing, fairy wrought, and ultimately useful tools made time somehow more precious.  More mysterious.  More of a treasure.  We slept in your clock room whenever we came to your house...and the ticking became poetry and music in it's own right.  I still cannot hear a clock that actually ticks without being transported back to street-lights pouring through the stained glass and the thunderous sound of TIME...and how very fast it seemed to go...

You lived simply.  You lived appreciatively.  You lived peacefully.  You gave all of your attention to me whether I was 3 or 30.  You treated me no differently.  And I know this is why you were a good pastor.  You allowed God to flow through you simply.  It was never more complex than it needed to be.  You went to seminary and allowed it to color the reverence of the words you used to speak to the God of the Universe, but you believed like a child.  You treasured it like a child.  You shared it just as simply.  Full of wonder and questions.  And peace.

I am a blessed woman that I knew you and loved you.  That I have have your books, your clocks, and your peace with questions.  That I have the memories I do.

I assure you that if you knew it was me, nothing could keep me from coming to pet your hand, and stroke your forehead...but I feel that I said good-by back before you fell into the back of your mind...when I saw that was what had happened, my only comfort was that I knew you were in good company...between Jesus and the poetry...I knew that there would be no dark or fear, only peace...

I love you so very much.  And may your passing be just as simple and full of peace.

And may the ticking of your clocks remind me that the moments that are the treasures...until the end of time...


  1. So beautiful Tiffany! Thanks so much for sharing!!! <3 Prayers for your family. <3

  2. Good to know he knows Jesus. Prayers for you. We lost my mother only a month ago, so I can certainly sympathize.

  3. Beautifully remembered and recorded, Tiffany. It's a wonderful gift to have such memories and a gift passed to others when appreciated and shared. Praying for your family. Losing our family elders is felt in different ways by different age groups, but significant to us forevermore. Love you!