Pine Bluffs Post - Serving all of Eastern Laramie County since 1908

By Charlene Smith
Reporter for Pine Bluffs Post 

Lost hours should be saved for later


The time change came later this year. A few years back, someone who gets paid to make decisions that change our lives decided it would fit better the first weekend in November. Arizona and Hawaii still think it doesn’t fit anywhere, so they stay on standard time all through the year.

On November 4th, we turned our clocks back one hour, losing an hour each day. The simple reason for Daylight Savings Time is to take advantage of the daylight (sunlight) hours. For many people that work outside, this is very important. It is more important the farther north you travel. Daylight hours are at a premium with our northern States this time of year.

The idea of changing times and adjusting schedules doesn’t agree with everyone. Some people complain about losing sleep. There are even some religions that are against it. Many believe that man adjusted and survived for years the way it use to be.

But whatever way your clock ticks, the time changes. I’m not sure I have an opinion on it. It did make it easier for the Smith family to make it to 8 a.m. church last Sunday, but beyond that, it really didn’t matter, until this year.

I like the cocoon the early evening forms around families and homes. It seems, at least, my family is much closer in standard time. Of course, you have all the holiday’s drenched in family traditions ringing the doorbell, and thoughts of your own childhood beckoning you to “remember when ...”

As the clocks fall back an hour, I would like to get an account for all those lost hours to use later. My dad was recently diagnosed with a “life-limiting” prognosis. Basically, an average, healthier-than-most 75-year-old was told he was going to die too soon.

I would collect for the lost hour each day from Nov. 4 through March 10 to be used at a later date. I would withdraw from the account a few hours so dad could be at my oldest son’s college graduation, then the next three high school graduations, weddings, births of great-grandchildren, maybe a few to have the first “legal” beer with all the kids, and more holidays.

If there were enough hours in the account, my dad would really like to see my second son overcome his amputated leg and realize his dream of playing in the NFL. Or be there when all the college scholarship offers come in. Dad was heavily courted his senior year by many schools in Michigan and even the rival to the south, Notre Dame, to play football for them. But I think the moment my son is asked to play college ball would mean more to grandpa, and worth an hour I lose this winter. At least a few hours to catch my son in a high school game.

If the hours in this account could be withrawn in minutes, I would not be so greedy as to spend a whole hour on certain events. A few minutes when my children call to say they found that special someone. Maybe fifteen minutes to wish him a happy new year every year.

I have said before that you can’t stop time from moving. And moving back and forth from daylight to standard time doesn’t give us a bank account of time to spend as we please. If it did, I am sure more people would sign up for that cafeteria plan than any health savings account.

So, I don’t expect these wishes and words to do anything more than put a bit of salve on the wounded heart of my dad’s youngest child. It’s similar to that list you write down of things you are going to buy, then check your lottery ticket to find out you lost again. Just wasted breath and dreams.

But I do know that I am thankful for not losing the 75 years of hours I did get with dad. I didn’t spend nearly enough time with him, and return all the calls he made. He wasn’t perfect, as we all come to realize sooner hopefully than later. But he could confuse a physicist with his talk of hydrogen engines and space travel, all the while beating anyone at a game of cribbage. He was a dreamer.

I speak of him in the past, but he is not gone, yet. Although the man I now call dad easily forgets what he tells me, and couldn’t talk anyone out of a geometry problem. He can only play one cribbage game before his head hurts, or he starts hiccuping violently. He is lost in his body ravaged by lesions and tumors that don’t allow him to be who he became anymore.

I sat with him and his wife as hospice was there talking about “how this will all go.” It was difficult, not easy to hear at times, and at the highlight, my dad is comforting the hospice nurse. I wanted out of that room. But I stayed. I was reminded we don’t always get to pick what our hours will contain, but we ought to be thankful for each one.

It’s the moments that find us and catch us off guard and often hurt the most that make our life richer.

Time marches on, and we will go back to Daylight Savings Time in March. I know we cannot stop and cocoon ourselves in the dark short days of winter, hoping we have an account of the hours we lost.

But I plan to carefully guard my minutes and hours from now on to make sure loved ones are told their worth, elders histories are recorded, family comes first, cribbage games are played and every hour is not lost.


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