A few of years ago I decided I wanted an outdoor clock for our porch. I searched everywhere I could think of, but they were either hideous, they were not suitable for the arctic Wisconsin temperatures, or they were too expensive. I began searching online with equally awful results.

I used to fly quite a bit to see family and friends and for various work reasons and I somehow remembered the Delta Airlines in-flight shopping magazine. When the movie was over or I’d finished my book I flip through it and laugh at some of the ridiculous and always expensive products. I even remembered the name of one of the companies so I typed in the name and got the Hammacher Schlemmer site.

I surely could not afford a clock we did not need. We’d spent far more on bringing new life to this home built in 1875 tham I ever could have imagined and there were other projects that needed work. But somehow, the clock mattered more. It was on back order and weeks turned into months and then one day I got a tracking number.

The package arrived in the early winter, a time when it gets dark before 5:00, exactly when neighbors needed a welcoming light as they walked their dog or hurried home after a long day of work. Gary got the batteries in and the clock mounted. It was all I had hoped and more.

We decided to have an outdoor tree on our beautiful porch and the lit tree next to the illuminated clock is a special gift to our neighbors. As I talk to new people some will ask where I live and I tell them it’s the two-story house in the five-hundred block. “Oh, you live in the house with the tree and that clock,” most will say. I’m surprised how many people tell me they love being stopped by the train in front of our house because it’s so pretty.

People need light and joy and hope. The clock is on the cream city brick wall year round, and we even added one to the back porch. The tree is up for this season and once again our house looks like a Christmas card. New people have moved into our neighborhood and I look forward to telling people that I live in the brick house, the one with the big clock.