This Sunday we reset our clocks to Eastern Standard Time. We get back the hour we lost and gain a little sunlight in the morning. It’s my favorite weekend of the year. The switch always causes me to think of my grandmother, who never had to “fall back.” For her, time never changed.

Granny also preferred “regular” time. She liked it so much, in fact, that she refused to take part in the annual switch. Clocks at her house never reflected daylight saving time.

“That old Democrat time,” she’d say, with a shake of her head and a tone that implied the rest of us were foolish for going along with such nonsense.

She refused to “spring forward,” so all summer long, her clocks were “wrong.” Actually, they were wrong the rest of the year, too. They were just a little more wrong in summer.

The discrepancy came about sometime before I was even born. At some point in Granny’s life, standard time in East Tennessee was officially adjusted by an hour. I’ve never learned the details, but other older people I knew agreed this was true.

She never bought into that change, either.

Fall through spring, Granny’s clocks were an hour behind everyone else’s. All summer long, they were two hours behind. She got up to do the milking at 3 a.m. — her time. She went to bed by 8 p.m. — her time.

Granny knew that real time was unchanging. And for all the years I knew her, so was she.


Lisa Byerley Gary

Lisa Byerley Gary is a native East Tennessean who teaches journalism at the University of Tennessee.