For nearly a quarter of a century, its two hands have pointed the time to us from its tower atop the Haynes Memorial Building.
Its chimes in tones clear and musical have sounded the hours day after day and year after year failthfully and untiringly. In every kind of weather it is there steadfast in the performance of its duty.
During the cool mists of morning it looks down on the newsboys waiting for their morning papers. It listens to the chatter of birds wakening from their night’s rest.
In the sweltering summer midday it never stops for a nap. During the gentle patter of rain, it looks cheerfully through the drip. In the soundless fall of snow it seems to work in accordance in its noiseless way.
Its four faces look steadily, each in its own direction. On the north when the cold winds and snow storms covers its face, you know underneath it is ticking away the minutes. On the east it watches each morning for the first rays of the sun. On the south the breezes blow gently and the sun warms its countenance. On the west it looks into the glow of many beautiful sunsets.
On Sunday mornings when our church bells ring, it reverently and peacefully strikes the hour as little children go by on their way to Sunday School.
It has sadly watched funeral processions wending their way to the cemetery. It has watched parades and heard bands play. It has carefully watched a generation of children go by on their way to school, and now years afterward, it is a mute guardian to another generation.
Now that our service men are returning from foreign lands, the old town clock seems to strike a fuller note to welcome them home. They, too, are surely glad to see the old clock, for it is a part of everything that means home, peace and freedom. It means the little town where many of them were born and brought up, friends, neighbors and loved ones.
In loving memory of our boys who have made the supreme sacrifice and will not return to us, our clock will toll gently.
As the years go by it will continue to look out over the housetops of Cliffside, and at the river as it goes under the bridge, and wanders on to where the wooded hills run down to its edge.
It does not seem an inanimate thing as clocks go. Rather it seems alive, like a friendly companion. No one question its accuracy. No one wants to see what makes it tick. Everyone takes it for granted. It seems ageless, to have always been there.
After the day’s duties are finished and night approaches, a gentle stillness settles down and the town sleeps. But in the stilent watches of the night our town clock keeps vigil. Again in the hush of early morning there it is, fresh and hopeful as the morning itself.
From the book Raleigh Rutherford Haynes: A History of His Life and Achievements by Mrs. Grover C. Haynes, Sr., 1954. Reprinted by permission from Hazel Haynes Bridges.