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My last adventure with a patio umbrella took place two years ago, at lunch with my brother's wife, infant son, and in-laws outside a diner across the freeway from the local college.
Looking up from our sandwiches, my brother's father-in-law and I saw the pole of our table's large umbrella making a silent and steady ascent! Quickly free of the table, the umbrella levitated in the direction of a group of college girls two tables behind us in the largely empty outdoor dining area. I grabbed impulsively at its pole as it passed over my seat, then clung on for someone's dear life as the breeze that had lifted it redoubled its effort to propel it toward the other diners, pulling me with it until I was sprawled backwards over two chairs, from which position I could do nothing but hold on and yell for help!
Fortunately, the in-law and the waiter swung into action and soon had everything back where it should be, with the staff making sure to secure the umbrella firmly to the table this time—and indeed, I have been more than happy since then to be able to leave the handling of patio umbrellas to professionals.
The original 16" x 6.75" watercolor art for today's new A* page is up for auction on eBay
. : )