Clock WatchingWith its timepiece revived,downtown is a richer place

'Twelve o'clock! It is the natural center, keystone, and very heart of the day." -- Herman Melville

For twelve'clock or any other time of day, a downtown needs a timepiece.

Thanks to International Museum of Carousel Art, downtown's signature clock is working for the first time in about 10 years.

The four-faced clock on the former First National Bank has been up and running for about two weeks. Museum owners Duane and Carol Perron saw the need to get the clock ticking, and volunteer Art Thompson put forth the time, expertise -- and his own money -- to set the hands in motion. The project gained additional impetus from Sharon Harvey and the ad hoc clock restoration committee.

Harvey, and others, found sentimental value in a clock that in bygone days served as a popular downtown meeting place.

That spirit is univeral; in the 1945 Judy Garland-Robert Walker movie, lovers reunite beneath "The Clock" where they met.

At least one other outdoor clock serves Hood River, but the museum clock is the only prominent one downtown. And the museum clock, though it needs further upgrades, has the look of a traditional town-square clock.

The pacing of the hands (hours and minutes -- Thompson said the seconds-hand will be removed) bring a new vitality to Oak Street. The empty clock face had been a mildly depressing facet of life on the town's busiest street.

A more modern writer than Melville, William Carlos Williams, must have seen clocks such as this when he wrote,

"The source of poetry that seeing the clock stopped says, The clock has stopped that ticked yesterday so well?"

Clocks tell us the time now, yet the clock at 3rd and Oak reminds us of our yesterdays.

The museum has done the community a service by bringing everyone up to date yet reminding us of a vibrant history.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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