The Umbrella Man

Every so often I have to go the County Clerk’s Office in downtown Houston to file stuff for our clients. Parking can be tough and if there is a high profile criminal case going on… forget it. Some of the county offices are right next to the criminal courts building so parking is kind of at a minimum.

Anyway, one day back in the summer while trying to find a spot I met Rick “The Umbrella Man” Johnson. Mr. Johnson is an entrepreneur. He sells umbrellas on the street corner (thus his self imposed nickname) and he also sells parking vouchers.

The city of Houston did away with parking meters to be replaced by high-speed, low-drag models that are solar powered and spit out a little voucher once you pay. The voucher shows when your time expires and you place it on your dash so you don’t get a ticket.      photo byline unknown; found here


Well, Mr Johnson saw an opportunity. More often than not, when people come back to their vehicle they have time left on the voucher. So he asks if he can have it then he resells it if he can. Seems like a lot of work for only dimes and quarters but I always try to buy a little extra time and seek him out to give him my voucher when I can.

One day I ask Mr Johnson after giving him my voucher if I can get my picture made with him. This is how the conversation went. (Deist attempts to write The Umbrella Man’s dialect)

Deist with Rick “The Umbrella Man” Johnson


“Hey Umbrella Man!”
“Hey theh youn mahn.”
“I got a ticket for ya Mr Johnson.”
“God Bless ya son. God Bless ya.”
“Hey Mr Johsnon [Deist pulls out his camera] how ’bout i get my picture made with you.”
“how ’bout chew buy meh a hamburgah.”

“C’mon Mr Johnson… how am i gonna buy you a hamburger downtown. Besides I ain’t got no money.”
“oh c’mon now son. I know ya got some money with ya… with ya fancy white shirt. Take me down in that bildin wheh they gots dem food places… buy The Umbrella Man a hamburgah”
“C’mon Mr Johnson… one picture. I’ll getcha next time.”
“Alright boy… but The Umbrella Man gonna be watchin for ya.”
“Yes sir Mr Johnson. Yes sir.”

2 responses to “The Umbrella Man

  1. This was a great post. Makes me want to go and buy him a hamburger and reminds me that I need an umbrella. Except for the fact that it’s almost winter and I really won’t NEED an umbrella until the spring. Which reminds me that it’s almost winter which depresses me. Aren’t you glad I’m back?

  2. I’m quite glad you’re back.

    I’m quite glad you have someone to miss (#8).

    And i miss…

    … talking to you

    … so very much.

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