By Carleton Varney- Special to the Palm Beach Daily News
Tick-tock, tick-tock, there is beauty in the clock.
Is that a nursery rhyme? If it’s not, it could be, I think.
Having spent a recent week in County Dublin, County Cavan and County Limerick, I can assure you that in Ireland, grandfathers are still well, happy and perking along just beautifully — I refer to grandfather clocks, of course. The stately homes of Eire would never be complete without a grandfather clock guarding the entry hall, the place in the home where I like them best.
But be that as it may, a grandfather often stands in the dining room or in the library to let folks know which hour is upon them. Good old grandma is around as well, as this smaller standing clock can find a happy home in the powder room or small sitting room.
I was surprised to see in the news last week a mention of the antique grandfather clock in the Oval Office of the White House. In the statement he prepared for the U.S. Senate’s Intelligence Committee, former FBI Director James Comey mentioned the clock’s position to indicate a doorway that figured into his now-famous tete-a-tete with President Donald Trump. Built of mahogany sometime between 1785 and 1806, the clock — known officially as the Seymour tall case clock — has been a fixture in the Oval Office since 1975.
Clocks of all types are functional, but the more handsome they are, the better, I say, whether they stand in a hallway, sit on a console table, take center stage on a fireplace mantel or sound the alarm on a bedside table. In Ireland, I saw clocks with malachite and lapis lazuli surrounds and decorations of mother-of-pearl and amber.
When I’m out and about, I’m always intrigued to see the many ingenious ways designers have set clock numbers and hands directly into wall surfaces. The lobbies of many public building and government offices have timepieces as their focal points.
Clocks aren’t just for indoors, of course, as the handsome clock tower on Worth Avenue certainly attests. In the old days when the Waldorf Astoria in New York was operating as a hotel, a friend might say, “Meet me under the clock at the Waldorf.” And the English, over course, proudly point to Big Ben a symbol of national pride.
Clocks often come in handy when I’m searching for a gift from a special friend. I’ve found you can never go wrong with a clock — maybe one set in crystal made by Waterford, or perhaps a travel clock with an easy-to-set alarm for a friend filled with wanderlust.
With the winter season a memory, this is sale time in the Palm Beaches, and you can be sure you’ll find a clock or two that could be a perfect gift for a family member. Buy it now and tuck it away for a birthday or the winter holiday season.
And tick-tock, tick-tock, do not forget the children’s clocks. I’m going to put a teddy bear clock on the shelf in my grandson Bowie’s room, one that has a nice ring to it to let him know the time and remind him of just how much his grandpa loves him.
Happy summer hours to all!