Exactly a year ago I got a new umbrella.  It was a gift from the organization that provides my employment.  it bears that organization’s logo.  How nice, I thought at the time, this might come in handy.  Then I stuck it in the closet.

These days, it does come in handy.  This morning, for example, I used it.  We walked as a family out to meet the bus.  We have a long driveway and the walk is a great way for us to start the day.  It is a ritual I like to be part of as often as I can.  Today the rain was just dumping down.  So we used the umbrella.

It is a golf umbrella, with no metal struts or stays.  It is lightweight.  And it is big.  The wind blew and the rain came down, but it protected us well.  If I had not received this umbrella we likely would have thought that we needed one for our daily walk to the meet the bus, but we would not have purchased such a good one.

We would have purchased something smaller, weaker and simpler.  It would probably have been cute or brightly colored but it would not have been nearly as functional.  This one works like a charm and looks sharp as well.  It was a fine gift.  It gets a lot of use.  I am glad I have it.

Tomorrow we have our annual meeting to review the organization’s standing and direction.  It will be a day to mingle and maybe learn a few things and even have some fun.  And I imagine we will get some employee gift.  The umbrella will be hard to top but I have high hopes.  One year we got coolers and mine gets used regularly.  So the track record here is spot on (OK, the exception was the car emergency kit, which was a great idea but contained a plastic bag of drinking water, just in case one of us happened to go off the road in the winter and need some ice).

I foresee we will receive a practical gift, one that will get used rather than tossed in a closet.  But even then, I can always pull it back out, right?

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