The Gift of Time Essay

The Gift of Time Essay

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Rating: Strong Essays

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Growing up in the once thriving mining town of Steubenville, Henry and Obadiah Harrington worked in their dad’s clock and watch store after school and most weekends. Mr. Harrington was a celebrity because he re-created the famous Big-Ben Clock in the town square. The townspeople were proud of the clock; its chimes could be heard for miles. The good times passed when the mines closed and nearly everyone departed, leaving only a few dozen families in the community. Obadiah married and then moved away. Henry stayed on to run the general store. When Mr. Harrington died, the townspeople were left with no shopkeeper to repair their watches or clocks. After a while, everyone started and ended their daily schedules by listening to the ringing chimes that counted the hours. The important task of winding the town’s timepiece fell to the watchmaker’s remaining son, Henry. Each day at midnight he climbed the spiral staircase to the top of the tower, and with his large brass key carefully cranked the clock’s springs until they were tightly coiled. The clock literally ruled the town’s people, chiming at sunrise, lunch, the end of school or work, suppertime and finally bedtime. Mr. Harrington’s clock and Henry’s dependability insured that the fine people in Steubenville would always be punctual and organized.

For over fifty years Henry never missed a midnight appointment. But when the news came that Obadiah passed away, he decided to travel to the funeral. His rickety buggy and tired horse would be dependable but slow--three days away from town. Prior to his departure, Henry carefully considered each citizen in Steubenville to select as a suitable and responsible replacement to wind the clock during his absence. After much deliberation he ch...

... middle of paper ... that night. Things returned to normal the next day. At sunrise the chimes sang out as the farmers went to the fields and mothers awakened their children for school.

Samantha left for college later that year. But Henry and Steubenville were never quite the same.

Instead of sitting in the rear of the church on Sundays, he was on stage with the choir singing loudly and out of tune. The general store opened an hour later so that he could watch the sun rise and hear the birds awaken. Most afternoons he could be found fly-fishing at the pond and yelling out “bag’em” to anyone who might snare a trout. After Henry passed away, the clock became more of a landmark than a useful timekeeper. Samantha returned for many years to lead a parade on the town square. On parade day, the Harrington Clock was stopped, and work and school closed… time was a gift to be enjoyed.

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