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The times, they keep a-changing on us

POSTED: March 2, 2014 1:30 a.m.

If you like standard time, then this is the week you better drink it in. On March 9, we will set our clocks forward and begin observing daylight saving time.

Right now, when I leave for work, the sun is starting to rise. Next week, I’ll be driving in the morning darkness.

The good news is it will be light for another hour when I get home.

A lot of folks don’t like changing time. We now do it earlier than ever.

We first began experimenting with time changes during World War I. It was so unpopular that we gave up the whole idea after the war was over.

But we brought it back again in World War II. In fact, it was referred to as “War Time.”

Once again, we stopped the time change after the war ended.

But in 1966, Congress passed a Uniform Time Act. It was administered by the Department of Transportation and had a lot to do with keeping trains on time. It seems some cities and parts of states adopted a summer DST and if you were on a train, the 4:07 might be the 3:07 or the 5:07 depending on the time your destination was observing.

When we passed a nationwide law, several states opted out, including Arizona and Michigan. It seems the majority leader of the Arizona state senate owned several drive-in theaters and was losing money because he couldn’t start his shows until nearly 10 p.m. Michigan stayed out of DST until voters approved it in 1972.

From 1970 to 2006, most of Indiana in the Eastern time zone did not observe daylight saving, but the entire state started observing it in April 2006.

Our neighbors in Alabama are mostly in the Central time zone, however, Russell County and its county seat, Phenix City, observe Eastern time because a lot of people work in Columbus, just across the Chattahoochee.

The Navajo Indian Reservation, which is primarily in Arizona, doesn’t observe DST; neither do the portions that extend into Utah and New Mexico.

The whole time thing can be very confusing. The clock on the computer and cellphone change themselves, as does the clock on the cable TV box.

I’m glad VCRs have become mostly obsolete. Ours used to flash “12:00” all the time.

This whole thing started about trains. The Uniform Railroad Guide in 1966 had a hodgepodge of footnotes about what time trains would arrive or depart, largely because of time changes.

There was a movie called “3:10 to Yuma,” which was first released in 1957 and had a new version in 2007. There was a title song of the same name.

There was also a train song called “2:10 Train.” One has to wonder if they were writing about the same train at a different time of year.

The whole time change thing gives us something else to gripe about for a season each year. Someone in the Tennessee legislature has proposed doing away with the time change in his state. It has also been tried in Florida.

I think we should just go back to the old reliable sundial. That might prove awkward on a cloudy day. Well, it’s just a thought.

Thank you for your time.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on gainesvilletimes.com/harris.


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