Not long ago we had an exceptionally blustery, rainy night, the loud, scary kind they have in horror movies and Texas.  My husband came down to the breakfast room the morning after and noticed a small, colorful tent pitched in our backyard.  Swigging his coffee and looking closer, he realized this was an extra-large, brightly multi-colored golf umbrella.  After finishing his Wall Street Journal he ventured out into the soggy, twig- covered grass to discover what had randomly landed in our back yard.

I came scuffling down to catch him lugging the clumsy, dripping apparatus through the kitchen.  “Wow, Pebble Beach”– he read.  “Very nice!”

Now, had I found the mystery umbrella from a legendary golf course, I’d have stashed it in the corner of the garage, hoping no one would miss or claim it.  Then, after a few days I’d pitch it into the back of my SUV in case of a deluge while on the road.

My husband is different.

He chose to phone and/or email everyone in the neighborhood in hopes of being a hero.  Wise about weather, he recalled the direction of the ferocious winds the prior night, and decided the thing had blown over from our neighbors to the north.  Here’s where I shudder.  This is the nasty neighbor I blogged about a few posts ago.  Remember her?  Think golf balls, broken windows and unfair accusations.

So he rings her up first, and gets the abrasive voice we all fear.  “What?”, she cackles. We don’t have an umbrella like that but what we do have is a damn fox and he is driving me crazy so if you see that mangy creature my grandkids are coming so can you get rid of him?”  Click.

Working from my end, I left a message with the neighbors behind us with the four rowdy kids.  They all golf and it made total sense they’d have an umbrella from Pebble Beach.  “Call if you want it back”, is all I recorded after describing the protective gadget.  Next, I was assigned the task of calling a neighbor/friend at the far end of the street and there I lucked out.

Cassie* assured me the umbrella (sorry, but there are not many synonyms for umbrella or I’d vary my description) belonged to a friend of her daughter’s who had come over the night before for a teen gathering.  And that she had noticed un-manned umbrellas flying here, there, and everywhere.

Phew. I had solved the case.  Meanwhile I had e-mailed the owners of the house next door to our south, describing what had landed in our yard the previous night—moot point by now, or so I believed.

The afternoon wore on and I stuck the now dry and claimed umbrella in the back of my car, reminding myself to drop it off at Cassie’s next time I headed into town.  Must say, it was, or is, an attractive, sturdy piece of nylon, metal, and plastic that might pass as wood.  Classy.

Around cocktail hour I spot Harry*, the neighbor to the south, ambling up our driveway.

“Hey neighbor, what’s up?”  I chatter.

“Oh, hi Nan! How ya doin?”   Monica* tells me you e- mailed that you found our favorite umbrella.  Terrific!  We thought it might be gone forever.”

Chagrined, I quip–

“Um…wait a second.  Cassie told me it her daughter’s friend’s umbrella.  And I believed her, Harry.

I didn’t think you even golfed yet alone went to Pebble Beach.”

Harry, a funny and most likeable guy, readily admits,

“Oh Nan, I don’t golf and have never been to that famous course out in California—is it?

I bought this nifty thing here at COSCO…”

Case solved.

P.S.  Cassie was very cordial and understanding when I called to tell her she was a liar and that Harry is the proud owner of the out-of-control flying umbrella.  And I never heard from the rowdy people behind us.  Maybe they were busy watching Caddy Shack or off on some golf vacation.

*Names changed, as usual, as I must live in this neighborhood.


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