For Christmas, Mark asked for a "nice mantle clock". He likes unique things - not the kind of mass, produced crap you buy at Walmart. He also loves to watch Antiques Roadshow, so I thought I'd try to get him an antique mantle clock.
I perused kijiji and ebay and found a chiming mantle clock, in mint condition, for sale at a reasonable price in Cambridge. I corresponded with the seller and she was willing to come down a bit in price, so I decided to pack up my kids on the first Friday of December and drive out to the country to see the clock.
We set off at 8:30 in the morning and it was a chilly, wet morning. Then the fat raindrops began to made dull thuds on the wild shield and suddenly I noticed white accumulation on the lawns and trees all around. I was already nervous about Cole telling his father what we were up to so I was glad for the distraction. "Look Buddy! It's snowing! We drove out here to see snow!"
He looked at me speculatively from under his toque.
Then we saw some horses and a whole field of cows. "Look! Cows, we came out here to see cows and horses! Isn't that neat?"
"I want to go home," he complained.
We drove for nearly an hour and finally, came to a horse ranch with the address I'd scrawled on a piece of note paper. We pulled up the long, windy gravel drive, through a forest of trees, and up to an old brick century home. There was a paddock with two black horses with snouts to the frosty grass and then, as I got out of the car, I noticed a third tall sleek horse standing in the front lawn, just a few metres from us. He stopped to look at us as I took Cole out of the car.
"Look Cole, a horse!"
"What he eating, Mommy?"
"Grass. Isn't that neat? We came all this way to see these horses!"
Cole's eyes were finally lit up with excitement. He pointed one mittened hand towards the horse, but clung close to my leg as I unpacked the diaper bag and Amelia from the car. Then we all clambered up the big stone steps to the front door.
The lady who answered the door was so friendly. She showed me the clock and the key and we tinkered with the dials and wound it to ensure it worked. She knew one of the dials wound the chimes and that there was a way to turn them off but she'd forgotten how. She suggested I google it. Then her husband wrapped the clock carefully in a white plastic bag and hockey tape while I escorted Cole upstairs to the washroom.
As we were coming out of the washroom, the lady asked us to come into her son's room. She had pulled a big bag out from under his bed. It was filled with Hot Wheels cars. She asked if Cole would like one. At first he said, "No thank you. But Thank you for offering."
Then she pointed out that there was a backhoe. And a forklift. A crane. A cement mixer! Cole began to squeal with delight. "Thank you. Thank you!" he cried.
So as we got into the car, when I asked him if he wanted to go see the horses, he declined instantly, too engrossed in his new construction vehicles. And I knew I was home-free. If his daddy asked him what he did today, he wouldn't even remember me buying the clock. He'd think I'd handed over that wad of twenty dollar bills for this handful of treasures he held in his hands the whole way home.