Ten seconds of silence

At least once a day I remember my husband. Always at one o’ clock.

For as long as we were together — which was a gobsmacking 47 years, I should add — he was in charge of the clocks.

He’d set them, check them, every couple of days. It never took long, because unless a battery died or an old wound one wound down, they were never wrong.

Oh, and power outages. He loved those.

We watched a documentay once about the Queen’s clockman. Whenever there was a time change he’d have to manually adjust all of the clocks in Windsor Castle and it would take him almost all day to do.

“Now that’s a real job. I can respect a job like that,” he said.

He was dead three weeks later.

My husband, not the clockman.

That’s not why I think of him, though.

Every day, after the call-in show, I hear a familiar voice:

“The beginning of the long dash following ten seconds of silence indicates exactly one o’clock, Eastern Standard Time.”

My wrist watch says it’s 12:55 — I always did run slow, he said.

The wall clock says it’s 4:03 — I can’t reach it to change it, anyway.

And the microwave says 12:00. 12:00. 12:00. Power outage. I can’t remember when.

Every day at one o’clock it’s like New Year’s Eve for me. The day starts over, but nothing really changes.

One time my home care worker said that she’d set them all right for me. She thought that would be a nicer tribute.

But I like it this way. I think maybe it makes him feel needed.

He is.


A fictional tribute to the National Research Council time signal, Canada’s “longest running but shortest radio programme.”

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