I’ve been writing “My Thoughts, Exactly” once a week for several years now. Over the course of nearly 150 columns, I’ve extolled, criticized, expressed outright sarcasm, dished out a bit of humor (hopefully), and admitted to wonderment, optimism, hope, concern, frustration and despair about any number of things. I’ve griped about mail carriers and trash collectors. I’ve both applauded and scolded everyone from school administrators to the president of the United States. I’ve argued against same-sex marriage and for English-only teaching. My column subjects have run the gamut (ever seen a gamut up close? Not a pretty sight) from port-a-potties, local wildlife and wildfires to our renowned heat waves, dump truck convoys and Christmas parades.
And yet, of all the topics in all of my columns, nothing has generated the volume of email response from readers as did my column last week about my futile attempts to find a clock repairman. I’m gratified by your outpouring of suggestions. I have a page filled with names of individuals and companies from Tujunga to Vista, California and many locations in between who have serviced clocks of every shape and kind – including grandmother clocks like the one I own.
Apparently, the craft of repairing large clocks isn’t quite a lost art – you just have to know where to look to find it. Who knew? I’m glad that there are craftspeople out there – even some in our very foothills – who can mostly likely fix my clock. (There are more than a handful of people out there who’d love to “clean my clock,” but that’s another topic entirely) One reader told me about “a guy behind the shop next door to the lawn mower repair place who someone told me is very good and reasonable, too.”
A few of the readers who sent me emails not only had a name and phone number, but also had suggestions about parts and pieces I could jiggle or wiggle or whack upside the mainspring to try and get my inherited timepiece working again on my own.
One of the recommendations came with a caveat that the repairperson would only take my call if he was first given my name by an existing client. Even then there was no guarantee that he would deem to accept my clock for repair. Well, excuse me.
One lovely email came from a regular reader who is a retired engineer (of the electronics persuasion, not railroad). He recommended a person who repairs antique clocks from his home in the San Gabriel Valley, where many of the recommended repairmen seem to be. In his email, the helpful engineer also recommended that I use synthetic oil on the “bearing ends” (whatever those are) and provided instructions on how I could do that.
I found this email particularly touching, because my late father was also an electronics engineer by trade. He would never, ever, under any circumstances, have somebody else do something that he could do himself with a little time and elbow grease. Dad would’ve had my clock disassembled, cleaned, oiled, reassembled and working better than new in no time.
My siblings and I grew up learning how to take things apart, figure out how they work and then – hopefully – put them back together in working order. Through that process, however, I learned that I simply don’t have the patience or the precision necessary to work with teeny tiny parts found in any given clock. For one thing, I have short, sausage-like fingers made for poking bread dough, not cleaning and oiling delicate clock gears and thing-a-ma-jigs.
For everyone who took the time (sorry) to send me an email, thank you. You impressed me so much that I’ve got another request or two. First, I need the winning numbers for the next Mighty-Mega-Millions-Power-Lottery. Then I’d love a well-paid position as Creative Director with a Fortune 500 company. Oh, and tickets to see Clapton in concert this spring would be awesome.
I await your response.
And I’ll see you ‘round town.