What time is it?
(from a letter to a friend)
I went by my old house the other day. A relative and her family have lived there for quite some time. It hasn’t changed much. There is a front concrete porch with 3 levels. A small sidewalk is part of it on one side and would lead to the drive way at the time my siblings and I lived there. When it was made we all had our footprints cast in the wet cement with our names etched underneath. You can barely see the names now, but most of the prints are visible when you throw water on the cement. It’s so small now too. I remember it so huge when we did that. My youngest brother wasn’t born yet so he is not on there. One of our nieces, who happened to be there that day, has her footprints planted in the concrete there also.
There used to be this flat stump in the back yard. It’s gone now. I don’t remember the tree at all so I think it was always just a stump when we lived there. It was flat enough and just high enough for us to use it as a small table or desk when we played outside. It was perfectly round and flat like a large plate or small pizza.
When I was very young I made a sundial on it. I took the directions from a book I had found in the dirt alleyway behind our house. It was an old, dirty, and torn up science book. I couldn’t really read it yet, much less understand anything in it. But the least torn page on it was a page that explained (through pictures) how to make a sundial. It seemed pretty simple. I got a paper plate from the kitchen and found an old dirty nail in the garage. I cut a triangular shape from and old carboard box. I hammered the nail in the center with a brick on top of the old stump and just like that I had a sundial.
Except, and this has always been a big “except” in my life, I had no idea what I had made. I did not know what a sundial was, and even if I did, I did not know how to tell time.
But every time I went out and looked at the sundial I was curious at what it was pointing at and why. I stood there and looked in the same direction until I found something I had decided it must be trying to show me. Somedays it was a cactus plant in the corner of our yard. Other times it was my older brother’s house across the alleyway and I would look that way wondering what may be going on over there that the sundial knew and I didn’t.
One day the sundial pointed to the empty field next to my brothers house across the dirt alleyway from my house. It was an empty over grown lot with dense but dry weeds, maybe a foot tall. There were some sparse spots that we had worn down while playing with our tops and marbles. There was also an old shell of a 1957 Plymouth Fury. The sundial pointed to the car that day. I walked over there to see why and when I got there I saw a small kitten on floor board of the car. It was just a baby and it was dying. I didn’t see any other cats around. I wouldn’t have known it then, but I guess now that it was abandoned because it was dying. The only thing I remember thinking was that the sundial wanted me to find it. It didn’t live long and I dug a hole by the car with a piece of wood I found nearby. I buried the cat and said a prayer for it. I walked back to my house and sat on the steps for a while before going inside. I didn’t sleep that night at all. The next morning before going to school I went out to the backyard and pulled out the nail from the stump and threw away the cardboard and paper plate.
I think it was a year or two later when I found out what sundials were for.
What time is it?
I joined a time travel group on Facebook.
I know what you’re thinking. Sure, okay, most of the people on there are loco. But seriously, what are the chances all of the tens of thousands of followers are loco? I think if even one of them is on to something I should stick around a bit. Never had a ride on a time-travel machine. Would very much like to take one. Coach or First Class I don’t care. Preferably a window seat to watch time fly by. I’m already good at that.
Pretty sure this one is the real thing. I joined July 10th. I got a message on the 12th that I had been allowed in the group back on July 5th. I checked my notifications back on the 5th of July and sure enough there was a notification that my request to join the group had been approved.
This should be fun.
What time is it?
“I can’t find my pens! I need to write!”
My aunt was almost crying when she said this. This is similar to things all writers have thought at one point or another. Not the lost pens, of course, but the need to write. We all have waves of emotion that overcome us when the true need to express ourselves comes to us but something is in our way. It happens. But the above quote is not from a writer. It’s from my aunt. She has dementia.
It’s been several years now and the disease continues to progress. The one thing she does want to do most days is sit in front of the TV and watch her shows, – and write in one of her notepads. She mostly writes the date and stuff about what she sees on TV.
“Today is May 15, 2019. I need a new watch. Bobby Flay won today. Today is May 15, 2019. Cordell Walker is on right now. What time is it? Today is May 15, 2019. Took my medication. Nikki lost today. Please God don’t let them take me away. Today is May 15, 2019. I need a new watch. Chef Lune is out. B.S 90. P. 52. My next doctor’s appoint is with Kalaf next month. Today is May 15, 2019. Missed Wheel of Fortune. Please God don’t let them take me away…”
And on it goes. I found her lost bag of pens that day. I don’t know if she ever goes back to read what she has written. She has several notebooks filled by now. I went to see her a couple of days ago and she had developed real bad gout in her right hand. She can’t write at all now.