It’s raining, finally, and things have already started to cool off outside. Penny has donned her rain coat and found the green Boston Consulting Group umbrella from Steve’s recruiting days. She is walking up and down the street in the rain. I’m sitting underneath the porch awning in the only dry corner, closest to the front door. They did not design this house to handle rain very well.
Tomorrow I have virtual drill. That’s right, military reserve units have also been forced to learn the ways of the internet and meet virtually. Of course, this isn’t going to be easy. We all received an email that we’re not allowed to use any video conferencing platform that we’re already familiar with. Just kidding! But the email did say we’re not allowed to use Zoom, Google Hangouts, or any other video conferencing platform that isn’t DOD approved. I can’t even remember what this other one is called, it’s so unpopular.
Watching Penny in the rain, I’m reminded of a camping trip we took with Steve’s brother to the Lake Houston Wilderness Park, which is 50 minutes north of where we live. We like to tent camp, and had settled on an overnight trip over Labor Day weekend in September.
The weather had not cooperated and the ground was saturated. We had enough dry moments to hike a few trails and explore. We even swam in a pond with a big hill and a rope swing. But by dinner time, it had started to pour. Unfortunately, we had already fired up the grill which was in the middle of this little clearing, and set up a picnic under a covered table. We needed a plan.
We had two umbrellas for the job (for you anti-umbrella folks out there, listen up!): one adult would hang out by the grill and huddle under the umbrella protecting the fire and the burgers, and maybe himself too, while the other two adults would assist with the kids and bringing stuff out to the hamburger duty person. I know hamburger duty sounds lame, but it really meant you could stand around under the umbrella and play on your phone, without having to participate in the fifth round of Monopoly Deal.
Thanks to the umbrella, the hamburgers and fire survived. But we did not. We went home. Because who wants to camp in a puddle? That Sunday on our way to church the rain had started up again. The umbrella, conveniently located in the minivan, came to the rescue once again and we made it into the sanctuary pretty comfy. I was inside, wielding the umbrella around getting ready to close it when a gaggle of little boys walked by with their dad.
“It smells like bacon, dad!”
He was right. It totally did. My bar-b-q rescuing umbrella was forever impregnated with the smell of burning charcoal and ground beef. It has never smelled the same again.
The point is, don’t be anti-umbrella. It might save your hamburger someday.