Sunday, November 6, 2011

Time Changes

Did you remember to "fall back" this weekend?

Yes, it's that time of year when we go through the semi annual ritual of going around the house and changing clocks. Well, maybe most of the clocks. We have a few around here that change themselves. Just getting all the clocks right can take an hour or more.

Today it dawned on me that the recent change in dates for the beginning and end of Daylight Savings Time can have unexpected results. A few years ago, the fall back date was moved from the last Sunday in October to the first Sunday in November. Last week, I was looking at one of the clocks in my office trying to figure out why it was suddenly an hour off. This clock is one of those radio controlled models that get their time signal from WWV in Fort Collins Colorado. Some of these clocks sync up when there is a few minutes difference but really can't tell when they are an hour off. So they have software that makes the daylight savings time changes for them. Unfortunately, if these clocks are more than a couple of years old, they make those changes on the wrong weekend. This morning, when that clock suddenly had the correct time while the others were all an hour off, it finally occurred to me that this was one of THOSE clocks.

We are also beginning the holiday season. It seems that this happens earlier every year, but more and more, the holiday season makes or breaks the year for most merchants, especially the smaller ones. Yesterday, I recorded my first Christmas commercial for the local radio station where I work part time. It was for an event called "Vista Lights" that occurs the Thursday before Thanksgiving. The first Christmas tree will be lit at the festival. That weekend, the annual "Festival of Trees" event will be celebrated. I really enjoy the transformation of a city that the bright lights and tinsel bring; such a cheery contrast to the bare trees, cold winds and bad weather that come along with old man winter.

New York City is the one place that goes through the biggest metamorphosis. From my travels there over the years I had formed the opinion that the city was a concrete jungle, dirty, grimy, with streets that were filled with people who are totally focused on getting from one place to another and ignoring each other. Winter was particularly harsh in that like most northern cities the skies were generally gray and raw. My opinion was changed in 1999 when I visited the city to help produce William F. Buckley’s last Firing Line Debate on PBS. We drove into a city full of lights, incredible store front displays and happy people with smiles on their faces and greetings on their lips. We walked the city streets and took it all in; from the red and green highlighted Empire State Building to a tinsel shrouded Times Square to the Rockefeller Christmas Tree. That trip forever changed my view of New York! When I remember NYC now, it is the sparkling Christmas gem, not the grey, dismal impersonal place I used to think it was.

Back to the end of Daylight Savings Time for the year; tomorrow morning I will head off to work in full daylight instead of the dawn twilight I had on Friday but the sun will be setting before 5:30 PM. The days are noticeably shorter but there is an excited buzz in the air as the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays fast approach. I mentioned the importance of this season to the merchants; I think the same is true for the rest of us. There is a reason it called the Holiday Season. It is time for us to set the tone for the whole year, time to enjoy each others company and to care for the friends and families that are the cornerstones of our lives. Maybe getting an early start is not such a bad idea, after all. Oh MY!

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