“Drat!” She thought to herself. If she couldn’t free herself from this predicament, and fast, those poor unsuspecting citizens were in for a real unpleasant time. Pulling at her stuck shoe, Sunday Sunshine let out a frustrated grunt… how she had let that no-good Blustery Bill get the one up on her she’ll never know. In all her many days of fighting inclement and nasty weather for her Fair City, armed with her yellow umbrella, Sunday had never been foiled so easily, “By nothing but a common piece of gum, no less!” Sunday groaned and gave her leg another good tug.
She had been on her way to inform the thunderstorm that was fast approaching Fair City that it should consider changing its route or have to deal with her (she could be very persuasive, especially when her charmed umbrella was pointed squarely at whomever she was speaking). Skipping along, as her usual fashion, Sunday Sunshine thought nothing of the STREET CLOSED sign until she found herself in a dark alleyway she had not traveled before. Turning to head back to the main street, Sunday came face to face with her nemesis, that no-good Blustery Bill.
For some reason, Blustery Bill just wasn’t happy unless someone in Fair City was getting the raw end of some bad weather. Whether it be a gust of ill-timed wind to embarrass the Mother Superior of St. Anthony’s, a surprise thunderstorm to ruin a romantic picnic planned for a first date, or if he was in a really foul mood a tornado to destroy someone’s dream home. He was one mean igit, take it from Sunday… she had been dealing with him for longer than she cared to remember.
Now, eye to eye with the creep, Sunday clenched the handle of her umbrella and was about to deal with the sucker once and for all when, with a smirk the coward turned heel and ran. “Guess he finally got some sense knocked into that block of a head of his,” Sunday remembered thinking. Just as she was about to give chase, Sunday realized that she couldn’t move her left leg. She was stuck. Upon closer inspection, she realized what she was up against. Gum. Dirty, stinky, already-been-chewed, ooey, gooey gum. As if that wasn’t bad enough, it was Spearmint. Gross.
Storm clouds were beginning to roll in from the west and Sunday knew her time to deflect the monster storm was almost out. Sunday was beginning to worry she wouldn’t be able to stop it in time. Just then she heard a happy whistle floating closer from up the street. Popping into view a cheery girl of about fifteen skipped merrily down the block. “Pardon me miss!” Sunday hollered from her end of the alleyway. Stopping mid-skip, the girl squinted down the darkened alley towards the voice, her lips still pursed for the now-forgotten whistled note. Coming closer to Sunday, the girl asked curiously, “Are you Sunday Sunshine?”.
“Yes, thank goodness your recognize me, I need your help!” Sunday said with great relief.
“Of course I recognize you! You’re a super hero!” The girl stammered a little awkwardly, becoming suddenly shy as she made the declaration.
Sunday blushed, still not completely sure if she really deserved such reverence but quickly recovered and said, “Here, take this,” and she thrust her trusty umbrella into the girl’s hands, “I’m stuck here and I need you to go stop the thunderstorm that is moving into Fair City. If we don’t stop it, it is going to cause tremendous damage to someone’s afternoon plans, and I just can’t stand to see that happen”.
The girl looked down in awe at the legendary yellow umbrella and almost dropped it in her attempt to return it to Sunday saying, “Oh, Miss Sunshine I couldn’t possibly! I wouldn’t know how!”.
Before the girl could go on, Sunday interrupted, “But you must!” she almost yelled at the girl. Continuing in a calmer tone Sunday said, “You can do it, I believe that you can. All you must do is walk to the edge of the storm stand still and point the umbrella at the center of it. With the umbrella pointing you must then say, Thundercloud! I ask you to go away!”. Looking at the sky, Sunday frowned and urged the girl to go quickly, for it would be too late if haste was not made.
As the girl went running to greet the storm, Sunday called out one last piece of advice, “And whatever you do, don’t forget to say please!”. The girl turned and gave the ‘thumbs up’ and then dashed out of sight.
With the storm now out of her control, Sunday turned back to her problem at hand… or rather, at foot. Her foot, swollen from a day of weather battling, was wedged tightly in her boot, impossible to pry out and she soon abandoned the idea of removing the gum-ensnared footwear as an option. As Sunday was attempting to pry her foot away from the gum with a discarded spork she felt the first drops of rain. Thinking that her young charge had failed, Sunday looked up to see a bright and sun-filled day, causing her to furl her brow in confusion. This was a first, rain and sun? She kept waiting for the weather to continue to deteriorate but it never did. It rained, quite hard at times, but all the while the sun shone on. It was quite refreshing actually. Even better, the moisture softened the gum and Sunday was finally able to pry free her imprisoned foot.
Hearing the familiar canter of her young friend, Sunday smiled as the girl skipped towards her, still wielding her yellow umbrella. “You did it!” Sunday exclaimed as she greeted the girl with a giant hug. “So what happened?” she could barely contain her curiosity.
“Oh, Miss Sunshine it was so amazing!” the girl exclaimed triumphantly. “I raced to the edge of the storm, just like you told me to, but when I got there there was already somebody else there. A strange looking boy who was just staring up at the clouds and laughing, it was a little strange to tell you the truth. Well, this boy he sees me running up and with your yellow umbrella, which is almost as recognizable as you are Miss Sunshine, and he asks me what I’m doing there. Well, you didn’t say nothing about talking to no strange boys, Miss Sunshine, so I just ignored him and did like you said. I pointed your yellow umbrella right at that angry-lookin storm and said, Thundercloud! I ask you to go away! And wouldn’t you know it, just as I was saying these exact words, that strange boy shouted out to the storm, Thundercloud! I ask you to stay! Well, I thought for sure that the storm would listen to him, on account of him being so much louder than me and having that flashy costume and all. But then I remembered what else you told me, Miss Sunshine. You told me don’t forget to say please and my momma is always getting after me about minding my manners so I screamed just as loud as I could, PLEASE! And do you know what, Miss Sunshine? I think that storm listened to me! The clouds, they kinda went from a black, murky color to a color more like my mamas’ tea service. Then just as the storm was rolling on its way I chanced a look over at that strange boy. Well, I hope you won’t be put out with me Miss Sunshine, but he looked so sad about the storm going away that I shouted out to the tail-end of the storm and maybe just a little rain for my friend here, if you please? Well, he was just pleased as punch, you could tell, when those first drops fell, and honest Miss Sunshine, I didn’t see the harm in it,” the girl looked a little unsure of herself as she told this last part.
Sunday smiled at the thought of her nemesis going toe-to-toe with this young girl. “No, there’s no harm in it. It actually did a world of good, see?” she said as she pointed to her sticky but freed boot. Sunday wondered if she had been going about her ‘calling’ all wrong. Maybe, she should be working with Blustery Bill and not against him. They could compromise and Fair City would benefit from both of their efforts. It was worth a try, at least. “Come on girly, I’m going to buy you a sundae for all your good work today… hey, what is your name anyway?” Sunday asked as she led the girl to her favorite diner.
The girl smiled shyly before replying, “Summer Showers”.
The Not So Fantastic Reality:
The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:
ONE: Today was a typical Florida day, weather wise… surprise thunderstorms followed by cloudless blue skies followed by a sun shower (rain when the sun is shining) and then ending on a kind of cloudy soup of a sky, as if Mother Nature couldn’t decide what to unleash next. Well, after being caught in the rain once, I decided to take along my umbrella as I ran across campus to several meetings. As I was on my way to my next meeting, yellow umbrella in hand, one of the passing faculty commented, “Going to ward off bad weather with that I hope?” (or something like that…). Well, I thought that was appropriate, it did kind of feel like I was wielding some kind of weapon or magical staff… plus I was wearing my big black belt and it totally could be part of a superhero costume. So I began to imagine a super girl, running around town, battling yucky weather with her trusty yellow umbrella. I liked the idea.
TWO: While walking to another meeting, umbrella still firmly clutched, I had a misstep… into a freshly discarded piece of chewed gum. Is that one of the worst feelings, or what? Bleck. It is never fun, especially as you are hurrying on to your next appointment and then are literally brought to an abrupt halt. So I thought it could be fun to throw that in to thwart our good-intentioned heroine.
Love & Squirrels.