When things go “clunk” in the night …

Clunk . . . I heard . . .  in the middle of the night, a single solitary “clunk.”

It penetrated my sleep-fogged brain. It wasn’t a normal night sound and I sat up instantly alert, heart racing, eyes searching around the darkness for what had made this sound. I got up, tiptoed across my bedroom and looked down the hall. Then I cautiously turned on a light and glanced up at the clock that hangs on my bedroom wall. The pendulum was not moving — the darn thing had stopped again. Checking the time I saw that there was only one hand pointing at two o’clock. Okay, I thought, it’s ten after two. I’ll wind it tomorrow.

I proceeded to check the entire house and all was secure. Convinced that I was still alone, I padded with cold feet back to my bedroom where my eyes fastened on the clock once more. It was still ten after two. Can’t be, I thought. This time I got my glasses and checked the clock and found there was only one hand there. The longer minute hand had fallen off. I breathed a sigh of relief. That was the “clunk” I heard. It had happened before. Climbing into bed I fell into a restless sleep.

Waking at dawn with a vicious headache I found my night had not gotten any better. No matter which way I turned I couldn’t find a position to ease the ache. There was nothing to do but get up and when I did I knew I had caught what my grandson had on Christmas Eve. I was dizzy, ached all over, and my head was pounding so hard I could hardly focus. I’d had this before, years ago, THE FLU. I glanced at the time forgetting that the clock had stopped in the middle of the night. Oh, yeah, I’ll fix you someday when I can see again, I muttered.

After a couple of days of experimenting with the bed, the couch, and the recliner, I began to be able to focus once more. I was back in the land of the living. Hallelujah, praise the Lord. I have lived through another bout with … THE FLU. My Lord is good. I was finally able to shower and put clean clothes on, forget the makeup though, I don’t feel that good! Collapsing in the wingback chair in the corner of my bedroom I turned the television on so see if the world was still there and, woe to me, I looked at the clock again. Oh, yeah, the thing fell apart in the middle of the night last night – or was it last week!

After I satisfied myself that the world had continued to turn without my help, I decided that I felt good enough to wind the clock and put the hand back on. I had never thought about how often I look at the time and ten after two was beginning to irritate me. So up I got, opened the door on the clock, felt around and found the minute hand. Now, on tiptoes to reach it, I push the minute hand on to the center post just like I have done several times before when all of a sudden it reacts like a spring and goes flying. I look around and it’s not in sight. With a big sigh, I close the door on the dumb clock and look in the chair below it. No hand. I look all over the floor, still no hand. By now, I’m not feeling so good and I have to sit down in my chair and rest.

Sometime later, who knows because the clock still says ten after two, I decided I had to find that hand. How far could it have gone? I check both chairs that sit in the corner, I look on top of the bookcase, I move books, rearrange pillows and cushions in the chairs, but no hand. By now, I am determined this will not get the best of me – I may have been beaten down by … THE FLU, but I will not be beaten by the stupid minute hand of a clock! I grab one of the chairs and pull it out to the center of my bedroom, no luck. Shaking because I haven’t eaten in two days, I manhandle the other chair to the center of the room and there on the floor was a box of books. Now I have books hidden in every imaginable place in my house, who knows, I might just want to read something when I’m in my closet. Looking at the box of books I think, Ah ha, the hand will be in there. I carefully go through the box. No hand. So I separate the books into subjects and carry them to my library, which has no more space, so I just shove them on top of other books. I’ll think about it another day, I mumble, if Scarlet can do that in Gone with the Wind, so can I.

Back in the bedroom, I decide that the hand is stuck in one of the chairs. I carefully run my hands over every inch of two wingback chairs, shake out two throws, lay them flat on the floor and look carefully, then fold them and put them away. Well, I know where the hand is not. A little success is good for the soul, I mutter. Now to the bookcase that sites between the chairs. I remove every book, every scrap of paper, fill the trash can with useless papers, then I put it all back. No luck. Deciding that the hand has to be under the bookcase, now you tell me how it could have gotten there, but there is no other place for it to be, I attempt to move the bookcase. It doesn’t move. My husband has nailed it to the wall. My head pounds again. I find a long handle shoe horn and I “sweep” under the bookcase. I found two screws, several pencils, small and sundry bits of paper, and numerous dust bunnies.

I am exhausted. I am confused. I am frustrated.  Lord, I say, I’ve done my best to find that thing but I’m giving up now. What’s the big deal about a second-hand anyway?  So I pulled, tugged, and shoved those wingback chairs, which had gotten bigger while they were in the middle of the room, back to their original positions. THE FLU couldn’t beat me, but Lord, that minute hand has.

I gave up and sat down in my cleaned-up corner with freshly brushed clean chairs, with my organized books, even the pencils are neatly arranged. I picked up the television remote and thought I’d watch the oldies channel to get my mind off that ridiculous clock, clicked it and leaned back to relax. Or tried to relax when something stuck me in the back of my neck, and I jumped up. No, that’s wrong, I don’t jump anymore –I got up. I thought I had been stuck by a pin or bitten by a spider. Once again I ran my hand over the back of the chair. I found nada. By now, I am beyond exhaustion and … THE FLU is making its presence known. My head is pulsating like a rock band. I sit down again and lean back … and felt a crawly sensation on the back of my neck.

This time, I really did jump up and scurry to a mirror. I looked at the back of my neck. There, hanging in my hair, tickling my neck, was the darned minute hand. I was speechless. Words failed me … for a minute.

Lord, I said, if you wanted me to clean that corner of my bedroom, you could have just asked me!

Now, you tell me – does the Lord have a sense of humor or not!

About Betty Kerss Groezinger

Betty Kerss Groezinger, a native Texan, was born in Dallas. She was a legal researcher for President Harry S. Truman in Independence, Missouri, taught business courses at Rockhurst College in Kansas City, Missouri, and on her return to Dallas, she worked for more than a decade with advertising agencies. She has been a resident of Irving, Texas, since 1965, and is now working on the sequel to The Davenport Dilemma.
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