It wasn’t a fancy, expensive Rolex, but what do you expect for $9.95?

It is depressing each first Sunday of November when Daylight Saving Time ends, darkness sets in by 5 p.m., the shortened days are too often gloom and murk, summer blooms and garden veggies are but forlorn, raggedy clumps and stalks, and leaves by the zillions daily litter the lawn, patio, and deck.

If you do not know from firsthand experience, I can attest that an acorn falling from the top of a 40-foot oak and landing on one’s head can smart considerably. There is a bumper crop of acorns this year, and sitting on the deck of an afternoon, especially if there is a brisk wind, is to contend with a barrage of Quercus missiles from the overhanging tree. An army surplus helmet would be nice.

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This year’s farewell to DST brought one of those gee whiz coincidences reminiscent of a Star Trek warp in the time/space continuum. As I prepared to turn my watch back an hour before going to bed that Saturday evening, I found it had died just a few minutes prior.

I had been expecting it for months. It was, after all, well into its third year of keeping time, and how long can one realistically expect a tiny battery to keep hands and date dials turning?

My dead $9.95 watch on the left; its even cheaper successor on the right.

This was not, I hasten to note, a many-thousand-dollars Rolex, Cartier, or Breguet. It wasn’t even a $30 Timex. Rather, it was a not-bad-looking no-name Made in China $9.95 watch off a display rack at Wally World.

I have a really nice watch, a gift from my publisher, Greg Frey, in recognition of my having been with Farm Press since dinosaurs roamed, but for everyday wear, doing grubby, sweaty yard chores, or slaving over a hot computer, agonizing over what I’ll write about this week, an el cheapo watch is adequate. If I whack it or dunk it or lose it, hey, no big deal.

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A watch that looks halfway decent, costs $9.95, runs three years-plus, and keeps surprisingly accurate time, is, to me, little short of amazing — more so, given that it’s original Made in China cost was probably a couple dollars or less.

Now, I gotta get to Wally World for a replacement. I hope they’re still $9.95.

(As an after-this-was-written P.S., an almost-the-same replacement at WW was $7.88!)

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