(As you’ll read in my book, 10:45 P.M. was the hour of my father’s death. Many of his escapades occur at that hour)

Whenever my father decides to make his presence know, there’s usually a pun involved. This time he decided to be fatherly and address my reaction to an artistically busy and stressful series of days. The fan in my Sarasota bedroom is turned on by a small remote control device. It hasn’t been turned off in at least a year. Next to the bed is a white noise machine tuned to a quiet ocean sound. On this particular night, at 10:45 PM, I noticed that the fan was off and the ocean sound was really loud. So what was he trying to say? Easy. “Sea (sp) I’m your big fan.”


This terrific event centered on an artistic decision about the use of one picture or another of my father. I had been somewhat anxious over a picture selection. The photo I selected for the cover, a picture I‘ve had on my wall for almost 50 years, shows this dashing, mythological man in riding pants and boots. It was a catalyst for this book. Perhaps if I wrote a book about him, maybe I’d get to know him better. (Little did I know that you can’t pin down his spirit on a page) Another, more dramatic film star type picture, was an alternate cover choice. I knew this photo well but felt it was not quite as quirky as the first Two good choices. Dilemma.
As I prepared to shower at 10:45 PM. A high pitched screech came from the shower head. It was unearthly for sure; shower heads do not scream or squeal. Somehow I knew it was my father conveying something, my gentle father who never got angry or raised his voice. I wasn’t going to say anything to my husband about the screeching because you had to be there, as they say.
I came into the living room at 10:52 PM. My husband said “I’ve been calling you “
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
And this is what he answered: “I was watching TV and all of a sudden it sounded like all the pot lids sitting on the counter had crashed to the floor. I rushed into the kitchen and there they were, right there on the counter top. “
I asked him what time did this happen.
“10:45,” he replied.
He now admits to being an unwitting witness to a 10:45 PM event. I told him about the screeching and that was that, or so we thought.
The next day, at breakfast, I turned on the computer. It sits diagonally across from me in the living room. I had my breakfast and was reading the NY Times when two blinks from the computer’s sleep mode screen caught my eye.
“Uh oh,” I thought. “Power surge.” But I didn’t leap right up to check. I could not cope with the thought of a computer failure.
About ten minutes later, I touched the mouse. And on the screen was a big picture of my father, arms crossed, in a tough guy stance.
Because there was no way in this world that picture could have gotten there, and because he looked so fierce, I started to laugh.
I figured out the pun. The night before he threw a screaming fit and “flipped his lid.”
In the morning he was being tough.
The original photo remained as the cover.

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