Friday, August 8, 2008

The Watch


While I've been working at the gazebo information booth at the Ketchum Town Plaza this summer many visitors have stopped by and commented on my watch. It's a 1953 Timex. You know—the one that "keeps on ticking?" Well, many are alarmed to discover that it doesn't tick worth a lick. It always reads 11 o'clock. They ask, "Hey, if it doesn't work, why do you wear it?" I say, "You know, there's a story about that."

It was the first week in the month of January in the year nineteen hundred and sixty-one. I was stationed at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Miss., when I got a call that my father was dying. I received an emergency leave, drove all day and night and arrived at my home in Washington, D.C. I rushed to his bedside and for the next week we laughed and talked of the past and how everyone has a different path in life and, then, it's your turn to go. On the morning of Jan. 10 as my father's health was failing, he took off his watch and sold it to me for $30. He probably only made $4 to $5 profit on it. I paid him and he gave the money to my mother, smiled and died at 10:50 a.m. Ten minutes later, at exactly 11 a.m. the watch stopped.

I turned to Mom and said, "It doesn't work." She said, "You should be ashamed of yourself, for cryin' out loud. Your father sold you that watch on his death bed! What's the matter with you?"

After the funeral, I returned to my Air Force duties and stowed the "Timex" in my box of valuables. I had forgotten about it for 47 years, when just last month as I was preparing to move into the log cabin in Ketchum, I ran across it ... with my car. I picked it up and would you believe it? It started ticking! What a story, I mused. The Timex Corporation would pay me $1 million for this story.

I went to work the following morning full of great aspirations. I was about to call them when I glanced down to my watch and noticed it was 11 a.m. again. The watch had stopped. From then on, I decided I would wear that watch to remind me of my father. What a funny father. And, when it's my turn to go, I decided that I would sell it to my oldest son, Mark, for 50 bucks. It's all about tradition and family, isn't it?

Nice talking to you.

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