The time, it is a-changing

Published 5:38 pm Tuesday, October 27, 2015

With all due respect to Bob Dylan (The Times They are A Changin’), don’t forget to set your clocks or sundials back this Sunday morning at 2 a.m. I would imagine that this is one of two weeks during the year that you will see more images of clocks than at any other time. That other week, of course, is in the spring of the year when we move our time forward.

It happens because of the Uniform Time Act of 1966. That’s the year Congress established the system of Daylight Saving Time. I guess Congress way back then could actually do something! Let’s not give them too much credit, though.

In 1966 Congress set the beginning date for Daylight Saving Time as the last Sunday in April. Daylight Saving Time would end on the last Sunday in October. The starting and ending dates have been tweaked a few times and, now, the starting date is the second Sunday in March and the ending date is the first Sunday in November.

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Although most states adhere to the time changes, they don’t have to. Individual states like Arizona and Hawaii don’t abide by the rules. Neither did our farm neighbor, Mr. Arthur Layton. He didn’t cotton to this changing his pocket watch two times a year. During the summer, ask Mr. Arthur the time and he might ask you, “Old time or new?”

I’m sure you will hear between now and Sunday morning that Daylight Saving Time was first proposed by that most inventive of founders, Benjamin Franklin. While ambassador to France, in Paris in 1784, Franklin suggested a time change to extend the daylight hours.

Many of the modern reasons for Daylight Saving Time have to do with the conservation of energy. It was not coincidental that the man most associated with electrical energy was thinking of conservation back in 1784, though the conservation was not of the electrical nature, but of candles. Ben Franklin was truly a man of many talents and one who was way ahead of his time.

We probably don’t think too much about the time changes in the year, but I sure like the Fall Back one better than the Spring Forward one. Losing that hour in the spring hurts, but all is forgotten by the time the fall comes around and I gain one.

How many of you know the cartoon character Maxine? She usually has a bathrobe on her body and a scowl on her face. Her comments are full of sarcasm and, more times than not, Maxine says just about what all of us are thinking. Here is a comment she made about our annual time changes.

Imagine her contorted face and hear, “Spring forward, fall back: my annual exercise program.”

Maxine also said that as long as we are turning back clocks, let’s go all the way and turn them back twenty or thirty years! I don’t think Daylight Saving Time does that but that would be good in many cases, although I am not sure I am ready to be that young again.

This Saturday, though, before I go to bed, I will feel like I’m gaining something and I will be. I will be gaining time. It might be only one hour, but it will feel just as good to get it back as it felt bad when I lost it in March. Most of the time I’m losing that most important commodity known as time. Thank God for small favors like this one.