“Andy and the Umbrella,” Friend, Apr. 1990, 17
“Andy, don’t forget your umbrella.”
“Aw, Mom, it’s not going to rain,” Andy said. “I’ll look silly carrying an umbrella to school when the sun is shining.” But he took the umbrella and headed up the street.
“Why can’t this be the kind of umbrella that folds up small,” he grumbled as he neared the end of his block. “It’s too big to hide under my jacket!”
“Hi, Andy. Are you afraid it’s going to rain?” a group of fourth-graders greeted him as he entered the school playground.
“The weatherman said it would,” Andy defended himself.
“Oh, sure—but this kind of rain is called sunshine,” Kenny teased him with a big grin. The other children laughed.
At recess, the sky was still sunny, and Andy was glad when no one mentioned the umbrella. However, after lunch Kenny appeared on the playground with the umbrella in hand! He held it out to Andy. “I thought that you might want this,” he said. “There’s a cloud in the sky now!” Kenny broke out in a fit of laughter. Other classmates joined in.
Andy was angry, and he bit his lip to keep from saying anything.
But Kenny wouldn’t leave it alone. He jumped up onto the steps of the school building. “Come on, everybody—see the one and only Andy and his famous umbrella,” he shouted. “Step right up. The show’s about to begin!”
Andy felt his face turn red as a large group of children turned and stared at him. “What’s so famous about it?” they asked.
Suddenly Andy remembered what Mom always said: “Try to make the best of things. Don’t let anyone or anything get you down.”
OK, he told himself. I’ll go along with them! He stood up and made a sweeping bow toward his audience. “Ladies and gentlemen,” he began. “This may look like a common, ordinary umbrella, but it happens to be very special. Watch—I’ll show you.”
Andy held the closed umbrella by the handle, and with head held high, he strutted around the center of the circle made by the children. “It’s a fancy walking cane,” he explained. “Only very important people use them.”
Then he held the handle close to his face and pointed the tip end toward the sky. “Now it’s a telescope,” he announced. “I see Jupiter and Mars and all the stars, even in the daylight.”
“On guard!” he yelled as he bent his knees in a fencer’s stance. With his other arm held high, he slashed through the air with his “sword.”
The children began to clap. “More! More!” they called out.
With big dramatic motions, Andy opened the umbrella and held it over his head. He stepped along carefully as he pretended to be a circus tightrope walker.
As he neared one of his classmates, he closed the umbrella quickly and poked the pointed end through a piece of paper on the ground. “You see,” he said, “it’s also a good trash picker-upper.”
His classmates were laughing with him now, not at him. “That’s great, Andy,” they said. “What else can you do with it?”
Andy grabbed the middle of the closed umbrella and began to whistle “Yankee Doodle” while he strutted around like a drum major waving a baton. When he stopped, he twirled it around and around in his hand.
Finally, he opened it and placed it handle up on the ground and said, “It’s a TV satellite dish!” Then he turned it over and crawled underneath it. “It makes a good tent or fort too.”
Just then the bell rang. The children filed back into the classroom.
About fifteen minutes before school ended, the rain began. The light sprinkling had turned into a heavy drizzle by the time Andy got outside. He opened his umbrella and smiled to himself. Mom was right, as usual, he thought.
He passed the cars that were lined up in front of the building. Up ahead Andy saw Kenny with his shoulders hunched forward and his head down. Knowing that Kenny’s mom was still working and would not be there to give him a ride home, Andy hurried to catch up with his classmate. “I forgot to show you the most important thing this umbrella can do,” he told Kenny.
Andy held the umbrella so that it covered both their heads. “It’s really good for keeping a friend from getting wet too.”
Kenny stood up straight and smiled gratefully. “Thanks, Andy,” he said.