Attempting to consider time in a timely manner


I am not a morning person and I will never be a morning person. I prefer sunsets over sunrises and dinner over breakfast. I really think that Congress should pass a bill that no one can wake up before 8 a.m., and that’s only on the even days of the month. On the odd days, we all sleep in until noon!

When I was working, I followed the same routine every morning: alarm rings, snooze button pushed, alarm rings, snooze button pushed, alarm rings, snooze button pushed, alarm rings, let the groaning begin.

But now that I’m retired, mornings consist of an alarm ringing, snooze button pushed, thinking about getting up, alarm ringing, snooze button pushed, thinking about getting up.

When I’m finished thinking, I slip on my old worn-out slippers which are complete with crushed backs, worn down insides and chocolate milk stains; and I stumble into the kitchen to eat my bowl of Cheerios.

I do have a break in my morning routine once a year when I walk around like a zombie groaning, complaining, yawning, refusing to talk and causing misery for all of those around me.

What is the cause of this sneering attitude? The answer is very simple – Daylight Saving Time! I love to “sleep-in” and Daylight Saving Time makes that impossible for at least a week.

I do take “spring forward, fall back” seriously, but I have one major issue with both “springing and falling.” At both times, all the clocks in the house must be changed.

Fifty years ago, that meant that we had to change two clocks: the alarm clock in the bedroom and the wall clock in the kitchen. Pastor Pete did one and I did the other.

I have reached the age that I now depend on the newspaper to tell me every morning what day it is, but the time of the day is another story. Not only did I lose an hour of sleep last Sunday, but I had to spend another hour changing the time on our 12 clocks.

I changed the time on the stove, microwave, coffee pot, clock radio, kitchen clock, family room clock, Grandfather’s clock, mantle clock, living room clock, watch, Fitbit, bathroom clock, and telephone answering machine.

I also changed the time on my insulin pump, continuous glucose monitor, and three manual glucose monitors. Pastor Pete was in charge of the sprinklers, cars, bedroom clock radio and his watch. I was relieved when I remembered that we had just put our VHS player in the trash!

Finding the instructions on how to change each clock is “Mission Impossible.” I think they are in a box in the “Land of Somewhere.” I should memorize how to change the time on each clock, but I’m too busy changing the time to have the time to set the time to find the instructions during which time I would have to take the time to memorize how to change the time so that I can consider time in a timely manner.

The lack of instruction guides forced me to go from clock to clock (digital and old school) to push this button, turn that knob, twist this changer, tighten that screw, adjust this weight, which all added up to the fact that I had no idea what I was doing.

On the oven alone I had to decide between stop time, bake time, clean time and broil time! I really don’t have the time to make all those timely decisions.

My father-in-law instilled in his family the need to use one’s time wisely. Every morning, every day of every week, every month of every year, he would get up at 1 a.m. to milk the cows.

Often, he was out visiting members of our church who had a need, be it financial or spiritual, until 10 p.m. only to have to be “back in the barn for the 1 p.m. milking.”  He had a job to do and that was to provide for his family no matter how tired he felt.

In order to be assured that he would wake up, Dad built his own “extreme alarm clock.” He secured a Big Ben windup alarm clock to an old plank of wood along with an extremely loud bell, 100-watt light bulb, and a lever hooked to an 8-inch cord.

Every night, he would wind up the clock and tie the cord around the alarm key. At 12:30 a.m., the alarm on the clock would ring causing the key to unwind which would tighten the cord around the key.

As the cord tightened it pulled over the lever which would trigger the bell and the light would flash. Dad knew the value of time and he passed that treasure on to each of his children.

Thus, Pastor Pete is a morning person and it has served him well. But far more important is the lesson that he learned from his father concerning who we should put in control of our time. Engraved on Dad’s headstone are the simple yet powerful words “My times are in thy hand,” Psalm 31:15.


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Pat Van Dyke