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Learning To Love My Umbrella

September 14, 2018

I grew up in Western Washington. You can think of it as growing up in Seattle. Although if you are from Seattle, I will tell you that I actually grew up in Olympia. If you are from Olympia, I’ll explain that it was really the suburb of Lacey. Unless you know how to pronounce “Puget Sound,” you’ve probably never heard of Lacey. (It’s pew-jet, not PUG-et.)

I lived most of my life in Washington before moving to Utah. And in all that time, I cannot tell you if I ever owned an umbrella. I can tell you that I don’t remember ever using one. Not once. Ironically, Seattle’s city festival is called Bumbershoot. That’s another name for an umbrella. But, it wasn’t just me, no one owned umbrellas. You know what they did own? Lots of sunglasses. Weird I know.

I own an umbrella. I own several in fact. I’ve become a fan. Again, ironically, Utah is a desert. t doesn’t rain much. In fact, I don’t typically worry about umbrellas when it rains. Instead, I use an umbrella to block sunshine.

I guess you could say that they are actually parasals. Whatever you call them, They are now an important part of my weekly activities. I quit worrying about getting a tan years ago. Living in Utah, especially if you spend a lot of time outdoors, it’s almost impossible to not get a tan.

On all of our hiking and camping trips, I wear a lightweight long sleeve shirt and lightweight long pants. Oh, and a hat. And then I avoid standing too long in the sun.

I didn’t worry about an umbrella.

But, then my son started playing football. He’s in 10th grade. The Varsity play under the lights on Friday nights. The sophomores play Thursday afternoon at 4:00pm. The home side of the aluminum bleachers faces West. . .right into the face of the angry Utah afternoon sun. No amount of lightweight clothing and hats was enough to protect me from the relentless sun and the heat reflecting off the bleachers.

Pleasant Grove is a 6A high school. Our bleachers are built for a student body in the thousands. Not many fans attend the sophomore games. Mostly just parents. It’s a good thing too. We all have those soft seats you buy at Costco. And we all have umbrellas. Some small, but most are huge. Our friend’s bring the umbrella from their patio furniture. You have to be strategic in not blocking others’ view and making sure your view isn’t blocked.

We’ve been to three games so far. The weather has been brutally hot for each one. Fall is coming to Utah. It’s possible that we might even get some rain on a Thursday afternoon before the end of the season.

I might actually get to use my umbrella for rain. They can be used for that, right?

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2018 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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