The Bell–Picture

bell-hiThe bell is all done.

Even though most everyone would call it a “ship’s bell”, this is most likely a bell that was on (or destined to be on) some small unnamed vessel.  All of the ships’ bells that I’ve seen have the name of the ship cast into the bell and, as far as I know, they are kept by the navy when the ship is decommissioned.

To get a picture that shows the “U.S.N.”, I had to get up on a ladder and this “distorts” how high above ground it appears the bell is mounted.  I am nearly 6 feet (180cm) tall and I can walk under the bell without hitting my head, so the bell is much higher up than it appears in this picture.

When I told our daughter about the bell being struck for my brother’s and my birth, she asked if that was done for her.  I showed her my mom’s diary entry

As soon as we got home, <dad’s name> jumped out of the car and almost ran to the bell to tell the neighborhood of the birth of our first grandchild, a beautiful baby girl.  Fortunately it was daylight.

She went over and tried the bell.  It startled her…and she had a huge smile on her face.


The Bell

The cast iron bell was “always there”.  I do not remember a time where it was not hanging from it’s bracket.

My dad said he struck it, in celebration, when my brother was born, and again when I was born.  That would have been over 6 decades ago.

My brother and I grew up in “the middle of nowhere” and when we were young, we were “restricted” to stay within hearing range of the bell.  The desert is quiet and the bell could be heard even a mile away, so the restriction wasn’t really that much of a restriction for a 8 or 9 year old.  In the days before cellphones, it worked quite well as a “communications device”.

My dad was a US Marine officer and my mom was a US Navy officer.  After each of them died, I went out and gently struck 8 bells–signifying “end of watch”.

When we were cleaning mom’s house in preparation for selling it, I took the bell home and stored it in the garage.  And there it sat until this past Monday.  On Monday I took the bell to a sand blasting company to remove the surface rust that had accumulated over the past 6 decades.

I told the sandblasting place that the bell was a family heirloom and asked if it could be done while I waited.  This wasn’t their normal practice, but we worked out a deal.  I would pay a non-refundable deposit to hold a place in line and when it was time, they would call me and I would bring the bell to be sandblasted while I waited.

Last night I put a coat of primer paint on it and, today, I put two finish coats, flat brass in color, on it.  The bracket that has always held it has been painted black, just like I remember it.

When the bell is mounted, I’ll post a picture.

May 26, 2019

Book One — The Ending

When she was sick, she, over and over, made me promise that I would move on with my life.

It took me a few years to patch the hurt and move on, but it eventually happened.  I kept my promise and moved on.

At the same time, I can’t pretend she never existed.  So, two days a year, for a few minutes, I remember her and our time together.  Then I come back to the present and look toward the future.

This does not mean I never think about her at other times.  Every now and again she sneaks into to my thoughts and nearly always the thoughts are helpful in some way.

Perhaps she’s looking out for me.

The Clock

When I was about 10 or 11 years old, my father gave me a ships clock.  I have no idea where he got it, but I’ve had it almost 50 years.

The clock indirectly caused some concern to my daughter’s first grade teacher when she was teaching them how read an analog clock.  The teacher asked the kids to draw a clock face showing 6 o’clock.  My daughter drew the clock hands; big hand straight up, little hand pointing to the right.  This was, according to the teacher, wrong.  The teacher then asked the kids to draw a clock face showing 12 o’clock.  My daughter drew the clock hands; big straight hand up, little hand straight down.  This was, according to the teacher, wrong.

By then, my daughter was a bit frustrated and this resulted in a letter coming home for either my wife or I to sign.  The note said something about her irrational insistence that her drawings were correct.

I took the clock off of the wall and the next morning, I brought my daughter (and the clock) to school.  When I showed the teacher, she was surprised.  “I’ve never seen one of these before.” was her comment.  Once I explained the difference between 6pm and 6am on this clock, she went on to say she now understood why my daughter kept asking, “Morning or afternoon” for each clock face, but the teacher still said my daughter’s clock drawings were incorrect.



About 5 years ago, the clock stopped working, but I didn’t do anything about it at the time.  As they say, “Even a broken clock is correct sometime.”  In this clock’s case, it was correct once per day.

A few months ago, I finally got tired of the non-working clock and took it to a clock repair shop.  The clock maker had to fabricate several new parts to get it working, but three months later, it’s back home and working perfectly.

I’m sure my dad, if he was still alive, would be glad to know that his gift to his then young son is still cherished.

Corn Plant. Part 3.

I have been keeping the soil damp around the dog damaged corn plant and today I noticed a small green sprout sticking up through the soil.

I have moved the planter to a new location where the dog shouldn’t want to jump up into it to look outside and I’m hoping the plant will be able to grow tall again.


May 26, 2018

Each May 26 and October 31, I take “Book 1 of my life” off of the shelf for a moment and remember.  See  Book One — The Ending

This year, May 26 was a Saturday, just like it was in 1984.  I snapped this picture with my cell phone camera from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  It was my moment of “remembering book 1”.   It’s not the ocean, but that’s OK.  It will do.



Corn Plant Setback.

The corn plant suffered a setback today.  It sits under a window next to the front door and today my mother in law came over.  The dogs, seeing her walk up to the front door, got all excited and one of them jumped up into the plant’s pot.  The 4 inch tall shoot was broken off of the old buried piece of corn plant.