Many years ago, living in a new city and in my first year of law school, I had attended a certain church a couple of times.
(It ended up being the church I would join and where I would meet the woman I would marry, but that’s a story for another day.)
This was a new church, one that did not yet have a building but, rather, held services in a school gymnasium. On this Sunday morning in November, I drove to the school/church and was surprised to see no cars in the parking lot.
Because I had not been a regular, I decided the church had either changed service times or locations, or maybe had even disbanded, and I had not been made aware.
But as I was about to exit the parking lot, someone else drove in. The driver pulled up next to me and rolled down her window, while signaling to me to do the same.
“You know what happened, don’t you?” she said.
When I shook my head, she said, “We forgot to set our clocks back. Church won’t start for another hour.”
I believe it’s the only time I have ever forgotten to spring forward or fall back. I was living alone and heavily into the school routine. I don’t know that I forgot; I don’t think I even knew about it
I have lived with two different women who have had strong feelings about changing our clocks.
The first was my mother, who simply believed we should not fool around with the time, that it was not right. Like many subjects on which she had opinions, she was not required to explain or qualify. It was her opinion and that was all that mattered.
(As an aside, my father, for days after a time change in the fall or spring, would recite what the time used to be. For example, he would say, “it’s one o-clock, but it’s really two o-clock.” Don’t ask me why.)
The other woman with strong thoughts on the time change would be my wife, with whom I have lived 37-plus years.
She is a big fan of daylight and she’s also not a morning person. Therefore, she has a strong preference for daylight saving time (DST) with daylight extending into the evening hours. Since she is not much on mornings anyway, it’s fine with here if those mornings are dark.
When we moved to Tennessee from Arkansas 25 years ago, she explained to me we now lived near the eastern end of the central time zone and for that reason, our daylight would end sooner than it had when we lived farther west. That was an adjustment for her.
Because it’s not something on which I have strong feelings, I probably would not have noticed. But she was, and is, right. When we go back to central standard time in the fall, it starts getting dark between 4 and 5 p.m.
My spouse is not the only one who doesn’t like it. I hear a lot of folks saying it affects them in different ways, not the least of which is they simply feel less chipper when it gets dark early.
Those folks might be getting some relief If the United States Senate gets its way.
Senator (and former GOP presidential hopeful) Marco Rubio of Florida has sponsored the Sunshine Protection Act, which would make DST permanent. It passed the Senate with unanimous consent, and I suppose we should be encouraged by the bipartisanship.
Rubio appears to be passionate about it, imploring his fellow lawmakers to stop with the clock-changing already.
“We don’t have to keep doing this stupidity anymore,” he said, while conceding it is not the most important issue facing the country (which was probably a good idea, after getting so worked up over it.)
If the bill gets through the House of Representatives and the president signs it into law, we will go ahead and set our clocks back this fall, but when we spring forward in March of next year, that will be it. It’s DST from here to eternity, or until Congress decides to shake things up again.
Do a little online research and you’ll see not everyone agrees with Senator Rubio and his colleagues. There are those who think the current way of doing things is fine and those who think we should stay with standard time and never change to DST (the camp in which my late mother would definitely reside).
All the reasons seem valid, such as school children boarding buses when it’s pitch dark outside and the natural sleep rhythm being more in line with standard time. (Although I’m not sure I totally understand that one and how one hour makes that much difference. I guess it has something to do with the way God intended it.)
During his sales pitch to the Senate, Rubio rhetorically asked, “Why do we keep doing this?”
For the answer to that, one has to go only as far as Google to learn the history of changing clocks. I’ll not go into all of that here.
There is no indication of smooth sailing in the House, with a spokesperson for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi curtly saying, “we are reviewing it closely.”
And to my knowledge, President Biden has not weighed in. The matter is far from resolved.
A good pun is certainly in order for such a narrative. Senator Rubio rose to the occasion with, “this is an idea whose time has come.”
I can only echo that sentiment by saying time will tell.
Bob McKinney is a longtime Brentwood resident, happy husband and proud father, father-in-law and grandfather. Email him at [email protected].