Quiet Ticking

I was born in 1951 and reared in the nineteenth century. The houses of Elizabeth Leary prompt my memory. They remind me of my great-grand father’s farm house. I grew up a mile from this house where great uncle Byrd, his wife Lila and his unmarried sister Myrtie lived during my childhood. Uncle Byrd (named for Admiral Byrd) was a bugler in World War I.


As a child I remember sitting in the front room of the house visiting the old folk with my dad. Sitting there in front of the fire in Winter the conversation would trail off and a comfortable silence would settle in — the wordless communion born of long intimacy — the ticking of great-grandfather John’s clock marking the time. It is one of the powerful memories of my childhood. After years of looking I found a clock that added a ticking to my office. It is an old Ansonia clock that does not keep perfect time but does remind me of the sound of my childhood in that house in the country-side of Alabama.