A few weeks back, I drove home to Ohio to take my dad out to lunch for Father's Day.
Even though it was supposed to be his day, my dad never lets me leave without giving me something. Sometimes it's a book, or one that he is listening to on cd. Other times, it's something he's cooked.
"I just finished one," he told me, and I knew he was talking about the latest audio book he had checked out of the library. The story, he told me, was about a little girl who loved baseball who had gotten lost in the woods. He knows I love baseball.
"'The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon' by Stephen King," I said. "It's one of my favorites."
I felt bad. I ruined his surprise. For a few moments, I regretted my honesty, until he popped his trunk and pulled out a book he bought at an auction: "America Then & Now: Great Old Photographs of America's Life and Times - and How Those Scenes Look Today."
He flipped to a page, the one with the above picture of the woman and her horse plummeting off a platform.
"Will you look at that!" my dad said.
According to the book, the woman in the picture is Eunice Padfield and she was a female daredevil. Padfield and her horse survived the fall. I'm not sure how, but my editor told me they would typically land in pools of water.
My dad gave me the book to take home. It's an incredible book with then-and-now pictures of police forces, hospital surgery rooms, the Indianapolis 500. but I keep turning back to this picture.