DEL CITY, Okla. — If he could actually hear them ticking Ernest L. Major might be a bit bothered by his longtime hobby. “I can’t hear ’em tickin’, he says. “I’m too hard of hearing.”
Ernest is almost 90 years old, a Tinker AFB retiree who’s lived in his small house for 60 years. If he sits down he still has to have something for his hands to do so about 25 years ago he started picking up clocks at flea markets and garage sales. If they didn’t work he repaired them. Usually the problem was just a busted spring or a dead battery. He holds up a white clock relatives gave him, “See,” he says, “There it is. Good as new.”
Many of his clocks are on display. Ernest’s grandson counted them up just before we arrived. “How many clocks do you think I got?” asks Major. We counted 115 to which Major replied, “You’re right. Absolutely.”
He still has some that need fixing but the ones on the wall, including one set to atomic time, still keep good time. Ernest points to one clock. “That is one of my favorites,” he says. “It’s made from and old Chevy I used to have.”
He literally has time on his hands and most of it is borrowed. The round clock of Ernest’s life is all close to enough to touch. The clocks his family made him, the clock that ticks past his wife’s picture, the clock with the picture of his days in WWII Paris, round and round they go.
The passage of time is a ‘Major’ blessing. Each passing second that he can count is still a gift.