I can feel the sun shining on me through the thick, clear plastic of my ultra cool umbrella, circa 1973. My umbrella is shaped like a giant mushroom. It’s one of my prized possessions. I’m dancing barefoot in the yard and I can see very clearly that I’m at my grandma’s house in Buckeye Lake. I also know that I was singing to myself. Uninhibited. Spinning madly. Fascinated by the mini rainbows reflecting on the ground. Knowing that Grandma’s watchful eye wasn’t too far away – an umbrella in and of itself – always protecting me from whatever foul weather was even remotely thinking of coming my way. She was always close by. Her umbrella was always such an all-encompassing feeling of love.
My grandma was an awesome lady. She didn’t mind that I was playing with my umbrella on a bright, sunshiny day. The typical rules didn’t apply to her. Not everything had a specific purpose. If I wanted to use my umbrella on a day with not a drop of rain in the forecast then I should have the right to exercise that desire. When I think of it, Grandma taught me to dream. We’d spend hours talking about the fantastic house that I’d buy for us in Hawaii some day – a place that she never got to visit. I’m sorry I couldn’t do that for her. I bet she would have loved that. Grandma always thought I’d be on TV someday. Not as a soap opera star or as a guest on the Dukes of Hazzard, but as a Weather Girl (hey… that was the term in the 1970’s). She always said I was very pretty and that I’d look really nice on the evening news. I wish I would have followed her advice. I’d love to get it wrong 80% of the time and still get paid handsomely.
There’s little five-year-old Sarah, though, spinning to the point of throwing up. Not able to stop for knowing that the spinning sensation will just get worse. Sometimes I wonder if I still do that? Do I spin just to keep spinning or should I just stop and let myself get sick? It’s okay to just purge. Besides, I have my umbrella to protect me. Whether it’s sunny or a torrential downpour, I’m safe under the watchful eyes of those who love me. Always protected. Always able to reach out. Thankful. Knowing that even though I love the rain and like to dance in it from time to time that I have all I need. My “umbrellas” have gotten me through absolutely everything.
I’m lucky enough to still have an umbrella just like the one I had in the 70’s. My daughter has one, too. I mentioned my love for my dear old umbrella once to a friend and the next thing I know I got a delivery of TWO amazing umbrellas. Now Madeline and I can spin incessantly in the rain – or sunshine – and fall down when we’re too dizzy, sharing our secrets and desires as we catch our breath. Both of us protected by our umbrellas, both physical and metaphorical.
Today’s word was brought to you by the incomparable Ann Ivory. She is one of my favorite people in the Universe. Ann is one of the most intelligent and interesting people I’ve ever met. I’ve known her since 1986 when we were “mod-mates” at Ohio University. She was witness to one of the most dreadful years of my life… also known as Freshman Year. One of my earliest memories of Ann was her posing the question “Who wants to go Uptown?” Being a shy girl I debated for a moment before taking the leap and stating “I’ll go.” I grabbed my fake ID and off we went, starting a friendship that has lasted for over 25 years. I love you, Ann. I love your stories. I love the adventures you’ve been on. I love your zest for life. I love you. Thank you for being my umbrella.