Time is pass­ing

The Compass - - OPINION - MA­RINA GAM­BIN Ma­rina Power Gam­bin was born and raised in her beloved Branch, St. Mary’s Bay. She now lives in Pla­cen­tia where she taught school for almost three decades. She can be reached at ma­rina-gam­bin@per­sona.ca. ed­i­tor@CB­N­com­pass.ca

As another year has rolled up on the cal­en­dar of my life, I can­not help but re­flect on the pass­ing of time.

I am re­minded of my grand­mother who passed away in 1966. Kate (English) Power was my fa­ther’s mother and she lived next door to my fam­ily home in Branch. Be­cause there was more than one Kate Power in Branch, and my grand­fa­ther’s name was Gus, she was af­fec­tion­ately called Mrs. Katie Gus. To her grand­chil­dren, she was known as Mom Power. Mom Power had an in­ter­est­ing fascination with time and its com­po­nents.

I thought that this ar­ti­cle would be fit­ting to read as we have re­cently cel­e­brated the win­ter sol­stice. My grand­mother never specif­i­cally used the word ‘sol­stice,’ but she would speak of how the sun had crossed the line and was swing­ing back to­ward us, and that we would soon see the days get­ting longer. She would say, “After the 12th day, you will no­tice that ev­ery day will be a cock’s step and a jump longer.”

She would bring to my at­ten­tion how shad­ows were grad­u­ally get­ting shorter. At evening time, she would make me in­spect the picket fence shad­ows on the ground out­side her kitchen win­dow to see the dif­fer­ence from the day be­fore. I re­al­ize now that her pre­oc­cu­pa­tion with all this sea­sonal stuff was a wish­ing for the de­par­ture of win­ter and the ar­rival of spring.

My ob­ses­sion with the pas­sage of time and change of sea­sons orig­i­nated in her company. I re­mem­ber sit­ting in my grand­mother’s kitchen as she di­rected me to lis­ten to the tick-tock of the clock, which she called a time­piece. She told me it was say­ing, “Time is pass­ing. Time is pass­ing.” But when you’re not yet 10 years old, the pass­ing of time does not mean a whole lot be­cause you think you’ll be young for­ever.

As I watched Mom Power rock in her chair by the win­dow, I wished she would not talk about dy­ing. I did not want to think about her be­ing gone, be­cause that kind of stuff is too sad for chil­dren. She had her own way of pre­par­ing me for her leav­ing and I will never for­get her lit­tle verse.

“So shall it be when I am gone. Those joy­ful bells will still ring on.”

Although her words strayed a bit from those of the Ir­ish poet Thomas Moore, I have since lo­cated the source of her quote with some help from Google. It’s from a de­light­ful poem ti­tled “Those Evening Bells”.

My grand­mother’s house was torn down about fif­teen years ago. Be­fore they took the chain­saw to the walls, I ven­tured in for one last look. I could not find the pen­cil scratches be­hind the pantry door. I longed to get a glimpse of those tell­tale lines made ev­ery year from the time I was about three.

That prob­a­bly stopped dur­ing some teenage year when I felt I was too old to be get­ting my height mea­sured by my grand­mother. Now, I can see that her sim­ple pen­cil mark­ing was just another way of mon­i­tor­ing the pas­sage of time.

And now I find my­self around the same age Mom Power was when she tried to teach me those im­por­tant lessons about time. I guess some of it rubbed off, be­cause now one of my most fre­quently used quotes is, “Time and tide wait for no man.”

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