25 Turns

We Never Know How Many Turns We Have Left    

I’m not sure when my obsession with pocket watches began. There has always been something a little magical about carrying around time in your pocket, as opposed to on your wrist. A few years ago, I came across a nice little faux pocket watch at Big Lots. It was battery-operated, as opposed to a manual-wind mechanism. After I dropped it a couple of times over the years, the case was eventually broken beyond repair. So I wound up tossing it in the trash. This past Christmas, my brother John bought me a beautiful new silver manual-wind pocket watch as a replacement.

The concept of time-travel has always fascinated me. Maybe because I’ve had my share of mistakes in life, where a do-over would have been a nice option. In the Harry Potter series, Hermione Granger used a Time-Turner, a tiny hourglass on a long gold chain, to jump back in time with Harry to save Buckbeak and Sirius Black. Per Dumbledore’s instructions, she gives it 3 turns. I thought about that the other day as I was winding my watch. I generally give it 25 turns. One for every hour of the day, plus one. As if I am somehow adding another hour to my busy day, with an additional turn of the crown.

When I wind my watch each morning, I am acutely aware of how much time I have to complete my self-assigned duties for the day. Recently, I have been listening to The 5 Second Rule and an idea struck me. I created a 5 Second List for all of the tasks I normally avoid or postpone on a daily basis. Then I used my workout watch to measure how long it took to make the bed, empty and load the dishwasher, pay the bills, etc. At the end of the day, I was astounded by how little time it actually took to do the jobs I generally dodged or put off until the next day. Tomorrow morning, as I give my pocket watch that 25th turn, I’ll remind myself to use the time wisely. After all, we never know how many turns we have left.

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The Musical Time Machine

Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads

I have always been fascinated by how music can transport you back to a specific time or event in your life. Not just the Top 40 songs, but the little-known tracks from obscure artists. One hit wonders you haven’t heard in years seem to have this mystical power. Sometimes you might not even like the song. It’s just stuck in there like a Memory Earworm, and it just won’t let go. That tune will forever be associated with a certain time in your memory. We all have at least one song that’s our personal DeLorean, allowing us to hit 88 MPH within a few notes.

I remember hearing The Tide Is High (Blondie) when I was at the top of a ski hill, getting ready to set a new land speed record. Hearing that reggae-style island music as I was preparing to rocket down the peak has always stuck with me. Jack & Diane (JC Mellencamp). I was dating a girl at the time, and whenever we hopped in the car, it was always playing on the radio. Funny thing is, neither of us particularly liked the tune, but it became “Our Song” by default. Turn Up The Radio (Autograph) is a great 80’s Hair Metal jam that takes me back to lost weekends at CMU, visiting my buddies Joe and Roy. Good times! Of course, Chapel of Love (The Dixie Cups) from our wedding, and also being serenaded by the Mauve-Tones! Don’t Forget Me (When I’m Gone) (Glass Tiger). After our wedding, it was playing everywhere in Hawaii and became our honeymoon theme song.

That’s the fun stuff, but there are also songs that instantly lead to sadness and tears. My mom used to read the Wizard of Oz to my son Jeffrey. So now, whenever I hear Over the Rainbow, I immediately lose it. Music has the power to transport us in time, but can also help us through some rough patches in life as well. Nowadays, every woman has a Breakup Playlist, full of songs that will help mend her broken heart. I’m sure some guys do as well. Not necessarily a playlist, but a particular song that gets them through a rough breakup. Music has many qualities, and the power to transport us time is just one of them. So grab your phone, find one of those songs, and then push Play. When your DeLorean hits 88 MPH, say hit to Marty and Doc Brown for me.

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Peeling Away the Layers of Time

How to Access Your Personal Time Machine

Have you ever noticed when a building or business in your neighborhood has just been torn down, you can’t seem to remember what was there a moment ago? A dry cleaner? A jewelry store? A hair salon? Even though you drive past that corner every single day, now it’s just an empty lot. However, if you travel back to a favorite spot from your childhood, you can easily picture every business on every corner.

This past weekend, my wife and I rented a tiny cottage on Clark Lake, in Irish Hills, Michigan. We were there for a family reunion my brother was hosting at his cottage across the lake. I mixed up the days and wound up missing most of the folks. I’m sure I’ll catch up with them all at Christmastime. Anyway, my wife and I wound up going out to dinner at the Beach Bar. For me, that place is in a time bubble. Not much has changed since my family used to go there over 50 years ago. On the way back to our tiny cottage, we passed a market named Mugsy’s. I told my wife it used to be called the Town & Country.

That reminded me of a wonderful sensation I always have whenever I visit this area. It seems like the layers of time peel away as I drive through “town”. I point out a cottage our family always rented when we were kids. How my mom and dad ever fit four kids and a dog in there I’ll never know. A chalet-style cottage across the street from my brother’s place used to be painted a nice redwood color and is now a dull gray. I have always been fascinated with the concept of time travel. Now it occurs to me that we all carry a time machine with us. All you need to do is visit a well-loved place from your youth to access it. Suddenly you’re back at the Town & Country, with some pocket change in your sweaty little hand, ready to buy some penny candy.

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