Mable's Clock

Little Story written by Barry

Every time I read Psalm 127:1, I think of Paul Ebel; "Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it." Whenever Paul wrote letters, he included a reference to Psalm 127:1. And then I think of Mable’s clock.

Now we could write a lot about Paul, but this story is about Mable’s clock.

The Ebels and Pearces attended the same church. It was a Sunday in 1984 or 1985, (or so) that Mable approached me at church and said, “Barry, I hear that you can fix clocks.”

Now, my wife, Cheryl, was the clock lady, and I had fixed several of her clocks. Cheryl had discovered that I could fix clocks and seemed to find broken clocks on a regular basis. I knew nothing about clocks, but had an instinctive talent towards mechanical things. I just did what seemed right, and the clocks ran. Evidently, the word had gotten out, and Mable had a clock that needed fixing. Well, that is what she said.

Mable: “I have this mantel clock that I took in to the jewelers to be repaired. They worked on it, and I picked it up and took it home. But it still wouldn’t run. So I took it back to them and they went over it again. They said it was fine, but when I took it home, it still wouldn’t run.”

Barry: “Well, Mable, I don’t know if I can get it running if the jewelers couldn’t do it. But the price is right; I don’t charge anything. I was laughing.”

So, Mable brought the clock to church with her next Sunday.

Mable: “Well, here is the clock. I hope you can get it running.”

A clock similar to Mable’s clock

I took a look. The thing that first got my attention was the newspaper that this mantel clock was wrapped in. As I remember, it was dated 1947. I might be off a year or so, but you get the idea. This poor old mantel clock had been sitting in Mable’s closet for over 35 years.

Barry: “Mable, this clock looks to be in pretty good shape, but I am amazed at how long it has been sitting idle. I sure hope I can do something with it.”

Mable: “Well, give it a try.”

I took the clock home and went through it. I couldn’t find anything wrong. But it sure needed oiling. I oiled it up and let it run for a week. It seemed fine. So I called Mable and made sure she would be home for me to bring it over. She said to come on over. So over I went to Mable’s house.

I set the clock on the mantel and started it up. It wouldn’t run. I could hear the problem. The clock was ticking in a very uneven manner, indicating that it was not level. I had now done one thing that the jeweler had not done. I tried to let the clock run on Mable’s mantel.

Barry: “Mable, I think the clock is fine. But your mantel is not level.”

Mable: “Oh dear, what can we do?”

Barry: “We have a choice; we can put something under the low end to prop it up so the clock is level. Or, I can adjust the clock so it will run on the unlevel mantel. But if I do that, it won’t run on a level surface.”

Mable; “Fix it so it will run on my mantel. I intend to let it stay there.”

So, that is the story of Mable’s clock. Well, at least that is most of the story on Mable’s clock.

Kind of funny; about five years later, Mable told me that the clock had stopped. I oiled it and it ran fine again. Well, for about another five years, and Mable told me that her clock had stopped again. I oiled it again, and it was fine again.

Now, the Pearces moved to Reno in 1999. And one day, I got an email from my daughter who attended the same church. She said Mable said her clock had stopped again. Sure enough, it had been about five years again. So I took some oil with me the next time we went to visit. I oiled Mable’s clock and it was running fine again.

But now it got complicated; Paul and Mable moved to Arizona. I have always wondered if they knew to tip the clock so it would run. I am betting not.

So, what about now? What about that poor mantle clock that is adjusted to run on a tipped mantle? I wonder!

Paul and Mable have both gone to be with the Lord. So someone new has Mable’s clock. I wonder if they know why it won’t run.


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