- By Steven Benjamin
Two hands on my wrist, pointing to the past...
Ever had that one something that sets you apart from all others? - A small detail about yourself that only you and a few loved ones know about. Something that’s practically inherent; and it can be anything – concealed or in plain sight. Perhaps you were born with different color eyes – a trait you share with your grandmother. Or maybe you have your great-granddad’s pocket knife, which was passed down through the generations to you. In my family I’m privileged to say we have a few things, but only one which comes to mind daily – something that ties me to my Dad, and his father – because I’m reminded of it whenever I perform the seemingly mundane task.
It’s an unspoken tradition; one that could well have come about purely by accident, because by all accounts, all the men in my family have no idea who started it or why. What I speak of is the small idiosyncrasy shared by all the Benjamin men – we all wear our watches with the time-face on the inside of our wrists. This occurrence is rarer than you may think. I started doing it because that’s the way my father (God rest him) wore his. I then noticed the same thing with my uncle’s, which is when I learned that they had got it from their father and uncles (God rest them all, apart from my uncles of course). The origins nevertheless, remain unknown.
Perhaps it’s too early to call it a family tradition since I wasn’t goaded into doing it – now though, wearing my watch the other way (the normal way) feels wrong and uncomfortable. I would feel proud though if I saw my future son (God will probably bless me with daughters once I’m eventually married) wearing his watch the same way…
I suppose beyond my Granddad, my earlier ancestors probably wore those timepieces in specialized lapel pockets with the elegant hanging chain, as appose to the comparatively garish wrist watch. Either that or they were too poor to afford one. Anyway, traditions have to start somewhere, right?
All in all, this bears no practical value or fashion sense, and has even proven to be problematic at certain times, especially when lifting things, but the sentimental significance far outweighs any would-be inconvenience. It’s a secretive tie to my family, something that distinguishes me as a proud Benjamin man and part of the humble legacy we forge and share.
So, with no known origin (though it was most likely work related, to protect the watch - I have heard of many such incidences, even some military men favor it), the simple act exists, certainly in my mind, enhancing family ties. It’s an unspoken tradition, and a quiet link to my past, present and promising future.
--->>> *NOTE*: I will be away for the next week and a half, hiking the Fish River Canyon. So be blessed in my absence! And send a few prayers my way, I'll need it. Look out for my updates about the hike - if I survive that is... <<<---