Time Stood Still


In the never-ending process of cleaning out my garage, I have been sorting through stacks and stacks of old pack boxes. I accept the fact that I will never ever be able to park a vehicle in my garage, but I need to make room for my mother-in-law who is coming to live with us. You must be thinking I am a horrible person for cleaning out the garage for my mother-in-law, but you have not seen my garage.

Did you ever live next to someone who accidently left their garage door open, and you call them just before bedtime to let them know? When my garage door gets left open, perfect strangers knock on my front door wanting to buy stuff. I cannot even open my garage door long enough to get the lawn mower out without causing a traffic jam on 4th Street.

Just the other day while going through a box of old things out in the garage, I came onto a wall clock with a Monfort logo on it. Looking at the clock brought back some fond memories of my 20 plus years with that meat packing company. Unfortunately, the clock had apparently pushed up against the outside of the container it was stored in, and the face of the clock became scratched up while stowed away for all those years. I hesitated only a moment, and then tossed the clock into the 40-gallon trashcan that was already half full of forgotten knick-knacks, memories, and trash. My wife pulled the clock from the garbage, suggesting I should keep it, even if only to hang it in the garage. I agreed.

I eventually decided I should take that old clock to my office at the plant, and hang it up on the wall right next to my office door as I had always done back when I worked at Monfort. I put a screw in the wall and hung the clock. I found a battery for it in my desk. The time on the clock read 12:18, but the clock did not run. The battery from my desk drawer must have been dead, but I left the clock up on the wall anyway. After all, even a broken clock is right twice a day. I kept forgetting to bring a fresh battery from home, so the time stayed at 12:18 for several days, the remainder of that week and all the next. Time stood still.

Then on Sunday as I was sitting in my office, the auditors, who had been out in the plant testing inventory counts all morning, stopped by to let me know that our inventory was a few boxes short but that one of our supervisors was still looking into it. The auditors were leaving the plant for a while and would be back later in the day. My office door closed behind them as they left. I leaned back in my office chair and just shook my head. “We have not been off on our inventory counts in a number of years,” I lamented to myself. It was then that I heard a strange noise in my office, a crunching quiet sound, but where is that coming from? I looked around, and then I looked up on the wall. The second hand on the Monfort clock was moving. The sound I heard was the tick-tock of that old clock. “This is weird,” I thought to myself, “the battery must not have been dead after all.” The time on the clock still read 12:18, so it had just started running when the door shut behind the auditors, shaking the wall and nudging the clock just enough to cause it to start running.

As I began to get up from my chair to go reset the time on the clock, I glanced over at the corner of my computer screen to determine the exact time. The time on my PC read 12:18 PM. The hair on the back of my neck stood up, and I felt a chill in the air. That old Monfort wall clock used to keep perfect time. I guess it still does. Our supervisor found those missing boxes too. I should never have doubted it for a minute.

I need to go back to cleaning and sorting in my garage now. There are many memories to sort through out there, and I never know what I might discover. Actually, my mother-in-law will not be living in the garage, but I do need to convert my den into a bedroom for her. All my exercise equipment and some of the bookcases in the den need relocated out into the garage. My wife returned home from her trip bringing her mother here just last night, so a new adventure in my incredible journey though life will now begin. While my wife was gone away from home picking up her mother, I checked into self-storage rentals, and I have now decided that to make enough room for my mother-in-law, our best solution is to rent a storage unit.

I sure hope she likes it.

Time will tell.


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