When I was attending the University of Kansas, the bookstores on campus were filled with all kinds of different and attractive jayhawks on pendants, bracelets, rings, pins, stationery, cards and boxes. Also sweatshirts, T-shirts, umbrellas, jackets, ties and the like. Jayhawks everywhere.
    However, the most important merchandise was textbooks on different subjects taught at the university ,with names and course numbers shown in each group to be found easily by students.
    Year after year, we spent money we didn't have to buy everything we needed for the courses we were taking. All three of us — my son, my husband and I — needed books, and the list added up to a large sum which made it impossible to buy any of the aforementioned articles that were stealing our hearts.
    However, when you are up and down Jayhawk Boulevard on campus all day, there is no doubt you are ... a jayhawk. Then, when we graduated, we started — like everybody else — paying back loans and setting aside money for expenses like toothpaste, soap, rent, food and gas. Nothing was left for nonsense or extras (still hamburgers, but no french fries yet). After repaying loans and surviving, we bought a home and "bettered” our cars. Wait, the time for extra expenditures hadn't arrived yet. Attractive jayhawks were still in our plans. A bit closer, yes.
    When the time came that after paying bills, there were a few dollars to spare, there weren’t any stores that carried what we wanted to have for so long. Other interests and projects took our highway, and the jayhawk had to yield.
    Today I have a throw pillow, a night light, two T-shirts, a front car tag and a toter, all showing the smiley blue bird.
    At the beginning of this last winter, coming out of a movie theater, I saw a blue (yes, go Big Blue!) umbrella with that familiar big yellow beak. I went into the store, asked for the umbrella and opened it. The size was regular, and the open-close mechanism was soft and easy, The material was a kind of nylon and it folded in two, leaving it at half size. The bag was transparent nylon.
    I didn't buy the umbrella right away because I opened it, closed it, folded it and put it back in the bag several times until I noticed the sales lady was not a jayhawk. Either that, or she was wondering what I was trying to do. She evidently had never seen anybody falling in love with an umbrella before.
    Finally, I paid for the umbrella and took it home. I don't keep it in a closet or drawer. Instead, I put it in one of my dining room chairs, where I can see it often when at home.
    All this happened, as I mentioned before, at the beginning of winter, so snow, ice and the lack of rain and sun prevented me from taking the umbrella out with me. Now, spring is here. It’s time for showers, fine rain and other types of welcome water coming from above, and I thought it was umbrella time!
    It has been raining some, but I have a problem with my umbrella with the jayhawk. Life is complicated, and many times we don't understand the whys and why-nots. I would love to take it with me on a rainy day for all jayhawks in town to admire. But still, I have a difficult time because I don't want my beautiful umbrella with my alma mater’s symbol to get wet.
    Unless I decide to be a trend-setter and open it on sunny days.