Columnist: “I heard the bells on New Year's Day”
By: Jamie Miles
Waking up is often unpleasant, especially during winter months when duty calls for you to rise long before the sun. That is probably why long ago some diligent or rather cruel individual invented one of the most necessary evils known to humankind– the alarm clock.
Feeling that way, I couldn’t understand my five-year-old’s fixation with a certain mechanized beast. On vacation, we gave the children money for souvenirs. Our teenager found a Falcons cap; our daughter bought a stuffed animal. Five-year-old Joe wanted…an alarm clock.
No radio, no snooze, no fluorescent dial, just a big, round face housing a mouse with rotating arms. Which was fine, I can tell time without three-inch digital numbers. The problem was the two huge silver bells perched on top and two-ton mallet nestled between. I shuttered thinking of the clangor it would resonate on cold, black January mornings. But Joe was adamant; the clock purchased. Immediately, he cradled it in his arms.
Since attempting to wake Joe is as if trying to rouse a rock to life, I set the alarm for 9 a.m., deciding to proceed cautiously into this new world of the bells of St. Mary’s. Each morning when Joe would awaken earlier on his own; he was angry as a hornet.
“Why didn’t my clock wake me?”
Good grief. There was no use reasoning with a five-year-old about the insanity of setting alarms on school breaks. So New Year’s Eve, I set the small wand between the 7 and 8.
New Year’s Day, 7:32 a.m.
My 2009 dawned as blonde curls and a smile a mile wide stood at my bedside with alarm clock raised on high, “It did it! It did it! It woke me up!”
“That’s wonderful Joe.” I smiled then rolled over, praying that any possibly I had that morning for simultaneously experiencing warmth, eyes shut and a horizontal position hadn’t gone the way of 2008.
Ten minutes later, slowly sipping that first cup of coffee in the New Year, I couldn’t erase the image of my gleeful son. You can’t fake genuine joy.
Then and there I made my New Year’s resolution; no eating chocolate after 9 a.m. Well, that is my second. My first resolution is to arrive AWAKE this year. No sleeping-in (except on days of extreme nausea and feverish flu) or sleep-walking allowed. To be thrilled with living, whether the moment holds sunshine and laughter or cold, wet clouds with flat tires and not much money to repair flat tires.
To capture that five-year-old excitement about an alarm clock’s ring – for this might be a morning mom serves chocolate cake for breakfast. After all around here, breakfast usually comes before 9 a.m.
Printed in the January 8, 2008 edition.