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Sunday, December 03, 2017

Big Ben

Meet Big Ben. Here is our story...


When Bob and I were married, we had long conversations about our dreams. What kind of home we hoped to have someday. Bob wanted a home with a baby grand piano. I wanted a magnificent grandfather clock. And so we dreamed together.



When we purchased our first home, a townhome in Olney, we purchased some Ethan Allen furniture and a grandfather clock made to match the furniture collection we purchased. That was 21 years ago.



We’ve enjoyed the clock for all those years, and in that time we purchased a Yamaha Disklavier Baby Grand, soon after we moved to our home in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2005.



In the last 10 years, our son, Matthew, has made that piano his own, and has brought us all enormous joy with his incredible talent and gift for music.



Since our move to NC, our grandfather clock stopped working and we lost the key to the door. It has graced our foyer for 12 years, but we knew someday we’d get a nicer and more decorative and unique clock for our home. That day was November 30th.

That day was a difficult day all around, and to top it off, our son, Matthew, had his little finger on his left hand smashed in Theatre class at UNC Charlotte when a very heavy cart with several hundred pounds of lighting equipment came barreling at him. X-rays showed his bone in his little finger was split in half lengthwise. For a pianist, this was a disaster.

But, Matthew and our grandson, Glen, drove with Dad - aka Big Bear, to Macon, Georgia, 4-1/2 hours from Charlotte, where we purchased this magnificent Howard Miller Grandfather Clock from a lady who no longer had room for it since moving into a retirement community. Her sale was our gain. She had had this clock sitting in a dark corner of her garage for years collecting dust. She had posted it in Facebook Marketplace months ago.

I’m always looking for remarkable deals. But I won’t settle for junk. For several years, I’ve been searching Craig’s List, eBay, Local ads, and FB Marketplace for Grandfather Clocks. After a while, they all look the same. Seriously, I’ve learned an awful lot about Grandfather Clocks over the years, and have discovered that many are junk, the faces all look alike, and most lack character - much like the first one we got in 1995 at Ethan Allen.

Here I am searching for a clock through the hundreds listed online. I really wanted a Howard Miller. They are exceptional clocks and well made. But, I didn’t want one that looked like all the other clocks out there. It seemed like everywhere I looked I saw the same style clocks with the same gold face. I never expected to find “my” clock in an online marketplace like Facebook.



There he was. The most beautiful clock I had ever seen. The one I had only dreamed of for our home. A Howard Miller clock that was 8 feet tall!!!



A Longcase clock with the most beautiful face. When I looked at the price this lady was asking, I took a double-take, and immediately contacted her. On Thursday, Nov. 30th, my love, Big Bear, and our two boys, drove to Macon, Georgia, arriving at 10:45 last night. I was so nervous for them on this trip I literally clipped off all my fingernails with the nippers and at one point started crying and praying for their safety, feeling enormously guilty that they were driving all that way for a clock!! I said in prayer, quite profoundly, “I could care less for that clock!! Just bring my boys home safely Lord. Nothing is more important than my boys.” Well, the good Lord listened, and brought them home safely - with the clock. They got home at 4 o’clock in the morning.



Finally able to sleep soundly knowing they were all tucked safely in bed - snoring - we all slept. This morning, they got up and brought the clock inside and set him in place. Wow. Just Wow. He (Big Ben) is a remarkable clock. And he looks quite grand in our foyer.

Big Ben is cherry wood. The antique dial showcases a painted ship scene and gold and green flowers in the corners. It is weight driven and plays Westminster chimes that can be silenced at night. Big Ben is a little over 8 feet tall. In the clock were all the papers that came with the clock when it was originally purchased. The clock, according to the Howard Miller papers, is called “The Heritage” and is their tallest clock to date at 8ft 4in tall.

And here he is standing proudly in our foyer. I better not tell you what we paid for Big Ben. You’ll drop your jaw in disbelief!! Even I am left scratching my head in disbelief. Thank you Facebook Marketplace and my wonderful, amazing boys for their endurance in bringing Big Ben home.

The next day, we had a clock repairman come to our home and he fixed the clock.  He checked all the mechanisms and added the weights and pendulum.  Now, we can honestly say that those first dreams we shared came true, and in the 25 years since we first married, Bob and I have made many memories, raised the most wonderful children, built a home and family together, suffered some setbacks and tragedies, and come through stronger. 

Making a home takes time.  Enjoy the journey.



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