This latest journal entry has been weighing on me for about 4 months. I’ve been wrestling with what to offer my readers. The current status of the world is in a virtual and literal tailspin and there does not seem to be an easy way to overcome the tribulations that have been laid in front of us. Political turmoil, a pandemic that has gripped the world in a way that has not been seen in over 100 years. As we try to adjust, each has come to a place where we question if our personal “adjustment” is enough or will have the right outcome.
Within a mechanical watch, there are a number of ways to affect its performance and each has its benefits and shortcomings. So too are the effects on home-life. Our kids are trying to adjust to a new “normal” of being at home for the better part of what would be a normal school week. Our parents too have their own obstacles. Work schedules have been adjusted to accommodate for a myriad of reasons. Just this past weekend, I was in the shop on a Sunday packing up a clock for a customer when one of my staff called to express his regrets that he would not be back to work the next day as planned. He’d flown to Washington DC late last week to propose to his girlfriend (she said “Yes”), and was delayed on return when the pilot of his plane back to Bozeman had come down with Covid. He was on the next flight Monday morning. We learn to play the cards we’ve been dealt.
Sometimes I run across a watch that offers me similar issues. I refer to them as “problem children”. You think, upon first inspection, that this would be a simple service, clean, oil etc… only to find that there’s a proverbial rat’s nest of issues waiting for you. Sometimes this is what life deals you. Face it, work through it and don’t let it bring you down. We can, and should, overcome these obstacles. For without pot holes on life’s highway, there would be no way to learn and grow.
As we enter the holiday season, there may appear to be little to be grateful for… but this is not necessarily the case. Look for the small wonders. Appreciate the subtleties that the world offers and embrace them. The great sunset, the good laugh of a joke or the kindness of a neighbor. We may have to dial our expectations down a bit this year… but that might be a good thing, and something to share with others. We’re all in this together.
This morning I got a call at the shop from a familiar last name. I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to her directly, but I have spent a good deal of time with her husband. Vic had been a customer of mine for almost all of the 30 years I’ve had a business in Bozeman. A consummate gentleman and a modest and highly generous man to say the least. You could not “sell” him a watch, he bought it. He would not negotiate. And it became a custom for me to simply carve off a discount for him. He had an eye for the finer timepieces but wore them with the most modesty of anyone. 20+ years ago, I mentioned my birthday was around the corner. Vic said, meet me at the airport at 7:30. Without hesitation I agreed, and as usual, I was 5 minutes early. I was there only to be presented with a ride (in the front seat mind you) of his open cockpit bi-plane for a cruise around Bozeman and the Gallatin Valley. When he offered the instruction to take the stick (not a wheel), I never felt more at ease….albeit a little nervous having never flown a plane. He was an avid reader of watch journals and when he was finished with them he would bring them to the shop in a plastic bag for me to read and share with my customers. This was Vic. I’ll miss him dearly. He called me from his assisted living home just two weeks ago to share a joke -he had a very dry, UNIQUE sense of humor- and I shared a joke with him, too. That’s how he was. Offer a laugh, get a laugh. There is nobody in my life that would offer BOTH of his hands to my one as a handshake and say “take care” like Vic. He meant it.
It’s a short ride we’re on…. Make the most of what you have and cherish those who reach out to you and bring light into your life. You never know when they will no longer be there to offer their contribution.
So from me to all of my readers and customers, be well, enjoy the small wonders that we’ve been given and take heart in the belief that with some minor adjustments, we will see it through.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to all!