Monday, December 19, 2011

All Wound Up About It

The other day I mentioned the grandfather's clock that my father made for Peggy and me.  It's still ticking along just fine, at 26 years of age, but I mentioned that it stopped running on the day that he passed away.

This is the clock he wrote about!
Not everyone knows that they used to call these big tall clocks with long cases "longcases," but they started calling them "grandfather clocks" way back early in the 1800's, and later in that century a fellow with the cheery name of Henry Clay Work found himself at the George Hotel, a hostelry in Piercebridge, England, where there stood a longcase clock that had slowed down when one of the proprietors stopped ticking and stopped ticking itself when his brother did. Mr Work heard the story and came home to Connecticut to write "My Grandfather's Clock," which is still being sung today.  You can hear Burl Ives singing it, you can hear Lawrence Welk's Champagne Music Makers Featuring Larry Hooper singing it,  and you can hear Johnny Cash "singing" it too.

Henry Clay Work - not to be confused with Andrew Dice Clay - also wrote a cheery little number called "Come Home, Father" about a family's efforts to get their dad out of the saloon.  And he wrote "Dad's a Millionaire," "Agnes by the River," "Take Them Away! They'll Drive Me Crazy," "Used-Up Joe," "When You Get Home, Remember Me" and of course, his last hit, 1884's "Drop the Pink Curtains."

They just don't write songs like that anymore.  But when you get home, remember to drop the pink curtains.  I'm sure there's a message there for us all.


Kristen said...

Cool topic. Love that your wife's father made one for you.

My kids and I love the Lawrence Welk version of Grandfather's Clock.

Mark said...

That's the one I like, too: the Lawrence Welk rendition.

It was actually my father who made the clock. He was a master of such things. I never had the honor of meeting Peggy's father.

Hope you and your family have a great holiday.