“What is the history of the clock?” I asked of the distinguished-looking gentleman in the crisp suit. I judged him to be at least close to the level of octogenarian, and was expecting a discourse on the timepiece that would…well… reach back in time…
I was talking to Bank of Monroe president and CEO, Ralph Mann, a man, who, as I understand it, still shows up for work every day.
“It came from Boston via Ohio,” he said.
I’m expecting the tale of the clock to unfold, and involve, perhaps, a mule over many miles, of difficult terrain, taking weeks, maybe a little rain, sleet, snow or wind thrown in for good measure…? Wrong!
“I’d always wanted an outside clock in front of the bank." he said. “In times past, when a meeting was to take place, the participants always declared, ‘We’ll meet under the Town Clock’. So I got a town clock.”
“How old is the clock?” I asked reverentially…
“Oh, maybe ten years…?”
O.K. So it’s not old. In fact, it’s rather new! Nonetheless, it’s a beautiful clock. According to Mann, and despite its classic appearance, it’s completely automatic. It even resets itself for daylight savings time without anyone’s having to touch a single dial. It keeps time flawlessly and adds its own touch of character to this sweet little country village.
In my mind, the clock seems perfectly emblematic of the tiny town of Union, the county seat of Monroe County, not far from where we live, JOTOLR. To me, it is reflective of the way things “used to be.” The Bank of Monroe opened for business on January 28, 1904. Obviously, it’s weathered a lot of storms through the years. Today, the clock -–modern as it is—stands in front of a venerable institution which has been around a long time, and it reinforces the sturdy values, the spirit of community, and deep-in-the-land roots that go back over a century.