What I mint to say
Friday November 09th 2007, 12:06 pm
Filed under: Knit

My old friend Lynda at http://lilypadknits.com/ has some darling patterns, from felted baby booties and hobo bags to a “Big Top” multicolor hat that makes me think of the day when…

We were in Washington, DC ten years ago, visiting my folks and my husband’s and showing the kids the sights we’d grown up with. Our kids were 9, 11, 13, and 15. It was July, but it was rainy and chilly most of the time we were there. Good. Show those kids what a real storm is supposed to be like, a good Eastern thundershower.

So. We were standing in line to do the tour of the US Mint, and it started to drizzle on us. Where we live in northern California, it rains from October to March or so and then stops till the next October. We hadn’t packed raingear. We simply hadn’t thought of it. Dumb, I know; my husband and I were just plain out of practice.

There was a street vendor right there hawking his wares to the captive crowd: he had the ubiquitous DC tourist t-shirts, and–umbrella hats!

Picture a half a vivid beach ball, connected to a cheap, rickety umbrella apparatus with an elastic band at the bottom. (I’d photograph it for you, but it has come up missing in my searches for it the last few Halloweens.) Open it up, put on that headband, and you are ready to be the talk of the town or audition for a Frank Baum book.

And they were two bucks.

And I wear hearing aids that I can’t let get wet.

“MOM! TELL me you’re NOT going to buy THAT!” Even my husband didn’t want to be seen with me if I had that on my head. Heh. It was mine. It was later that I found the delightful Elizabeth Zimmerman quote that people will put anything on their heads, and hey, why not? Besides, it was useful. Think of it not as spending two bucks, dears: think of it as saving several thousand in necessary electronics. Besides, it’s my job as a parent to mortify my teenagers and teach them not to sweat stuff that doesn’t matter, but to have a sense of humor about it.

My friend Lynda has that Big Top hat pattern, and yesterday I bought it. Her colors were subdued and lovely, but I pictured it in vivid red and blue and yellow, with a circus animal or two added on, maybe a fingerpuppet ready to be taken off and handed to a small child bored in a line somewhere. There was no way I was going past that pattern without buying it. You, too? Go have fun.

(p.s. Lynda’s husband just got laid off. Humor me. Go help her out a bit here, if you would.  Thanks.)

9 Comments so far
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I think aunts like to torture teenagers too. I love embarrassing my 13 year old nephew. 😉

Comment by Amanda 11.09.07 @ 12:37 pm

How wonderful! That is hilarious. Yes it is your job to mortify your teenagers. I must remember that, put things on my head. The Big top pattern sounds great! I will check it out.

Comment by Vicki 11.09.07 @ 12:48 pm

OH, the vision of mortified family while Alison walks down the street sylin’ her head-gear. Hilarious. I can’t wait to do that stuff to my son!

Comment by Amanda 11.09.07 @ 2:55 pm

I grew up in New Jersey, where those goofy things were known as Brock umbrellas or Brockabrellas, after the baseball player Lou Brock. I haven’t seen one in years, but after reading your post today I looked on line and found a website for umbrella hats. I had no idea they were still being made. Thanks for bringing up a good memory!

Comment by Mary 11.09.07 @ 4:01 pm

I had an umbrella hat as a kid. I thought it was hilarious! Nowadays, I carry a “paddington bear” rainhat around. My family calls it the “anti-rain hat”. Whenever I carry it, it doesn’t rain. Except sometimes it does. And I plop it on my head and save my hearing aids!

Comment by Carol 11.10.07 @ 9:34 am

Umbrella hats are far more attractive than cheesehead hats.

But not by much. 🙂

Comment by Kathy W 11.10.07 @ 11:28 am

I potted an amaryllis bulb in your honor today!
Thanks for the inspiration!

Comment by susan 11.11.07 @ 5:01 am

I tried to get to the site and it wasn’t available. I am hoping it’s because of your post and it’s too busy!

I know what it’s like to have no money and needing people to buy your wares.(as in, right now!) Thanks for posting that.

Comment by Karin 11.11.07 @ 8:00 am

I want to thank Karin and Alison for bringing it to my attention that something was awry with the link to my pattern pages. DH took a look last nite and fixed what was wrong. Anyone who might like (I hope!) to go there should have no problems now. Thanks so much!!! Lynda

Comment by Lynda Sorenson 11.12.07 @ 7:17 am

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