Last week my mother came back from my grandparents farm with their computer. It had died, seemingly a terrible death, and I was going to see what magic I could let loose on it to bring it back. Mixed in with all of the computer junk was another item, my dear friend, the Christmas Bell.
The Christmas Bell is a fixture at the farm at Christmas. The bell has been there for every Christmas I can remember. For the simple cost of two-AA batteries the bell plays synthetic Christmas jingles for hours and hours bringing delight to all. It also has a small lamp in the dome of the bell that pulses with the music.
The bell has gone through some difficult times. A couple of years it was hanging in it’s deserved spot, by the phone in between the kitchen and the dining room, but was unable to play, victim of some shenanigans by my cousins and I no doubt. It fell several times and had broken apart only to be taped back together. The plastic next to the on/off button had melted. My uncle had even taken a soldering iron to it to bring it back to life once. It was the ultimate fighter, coming back to bring Christmas joy to all of us.
I received the bell in rough condition. It had become three separate pieces. Stiff, loose wires broken from their mounts were the only remnants of the cheer it used to bring. I traced everything and identified where it all went, soldered the connections back and flipped the switch, however no sound emitted from my dear friend. He just laid there dormant. I wondered about the switch so I bypassed that, nothing still. I did notice that the single chip on the tiny board, it’s heart if you will, got very hot when it was on. I’m sad to say that my best efforts were not enough to bring him back.
I have respectfully placed him aside in the hope that future technology will be able to cure what ails this great, red bell.
Grandpa with the Christmas Bell (2001)