New Yorker cover
Contributed

The New Yorker magazine is known for its covers. They can be whimsical, downright pretty, sometimes somber as was the ghostly depiction of the Twin Towers following 9/11.

The Feb. 6 cover, “The March,” was exceptional. It featured a woman of color wearing a pink pussy hat and flexing her arm muscles.

This image of female empowerment evoked the famous Rosie the Riveter poster from World War II. The New Yorker cover came on the heels of January’s Women’s Marches.

That same week, Cheryl was contemplating how to decorate a corner of our new family room. It was disturbingly empty of ornamentation, she thought.

Her solution: A metal white board. She would fill it with family photos, postcards and memorabilia, all secured by magnets.

Much of what went on the board was predictable, including a cartoon image of me from my early columns.

What I didn’t expect was the image she gave pride of place: The New Yorker’s pussy hat cover.

Cheryl didn’t just like the cover. She loved it.

She hadn’t participated in the Women’s March Napa Valley. When she saw the Register’s coverage of those who did, she felt instant remorse. History was being made that Saturday and she’d missed it.

Although Cheryl posted the New Yorker cover in corner location, it pretty much steals the show. When I’m in the room, I can’t escape the gaze of the woman in the pussy hat. Day or night, there she is, radiating serious power.

The New Yorker was not unaware that they had a hit cover on their hands. Ads began appearing for T-shirts adorned with the image by Abigail Gray Swartz. “Wear a part of history,” the ads said.

I wanted to buy one for Cheryl, only she doesn’t wear T-shirts. Not practically never. Never never.

I felt so thwarted.

There were “The March” T-shirts for men, too, but it didn’t occur to me to want one. I didn’t have the imagination for it.

That’s when I thought of my daughter Jenny.

Jenny is all about female empowerment ... and cute cats, judging from her Facebook posts.

I texted Jenny: I’ve just ordered a mystery gift for you. Stay alert.

“OMG,” she replied.

Last Saturday I got an email from The New Yorker. Gift delivered.

I texted the news to Jenny. Check your doorstep, I said. It’s there.

She phoned back. No gift, she said, but then her mail always comes late in the day.

No, no, I said. It’s there. Check your landlord’s doorstep.

She checked. Not there either.

I knew right then what had probably happened. I’d screwed up.

Instead of sending her T-shirt to her current Sacramento address, I had likely extracted an older one from deep in my address book.

Do you live on 20th Street? I asked. Not in the last 10 years, she said.

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We have a problem, I said. Can you hunt it down?

Jenny hung up and jumped into her car. She was off to rescue her gift.

The appearance of her old residence had changed. For one thing, there was a guy outside fixing a truck and drinking a beer.

She approached cautiously. I think a package of mine may have been mistakenly delivered to you this afternoon, she said.

The guy motioned to the front door.

Jenny peered into a darkened living room that cast off an illicit vibe. An emaciated young woman came to the door.

“Are you Jennifer?” the woman asked.

Indeed she was.

The woman disappeared into the murk. She returned with a wad of cloth. A wad!

Over the phone, Jenny enjoyed telling her story of the T-shirt’s retrieval. In great detail. From the tenor of her tale, she barely escaped with her life.

It may have been a meth house, she said.

And the T-shirt, Jen? What of the T-shirt? Tell me you like it.

Yes, Dad, she said. It’s lovely. Her color, too.

But before she dares to wear it, she intends to wash any possible meth vapors off it.

Kevin can be reached at 707-256-2217 or Napa Valley Register, 1615 Soscol Ave., Napa, 94559, or kcourtney@napanews.com.

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