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The Woman and the Umbrella

I didn’t see her, but my friend sure did. God’s grace stepped in.

On a gloomy day years ago, my sister and I were driving back home on the old Columbia River Highway. As we went past the beautiful Multnomah Falls near Larch Mountain, Elva said suddenly, “How odd. Why is that woman sitting there with an umbrella? It isn’t raining.”

“What woman?” I said. I had seen no one. I thought Elva must have dozed off and dreamed it.

“She was sitting on the ground beside the road, her feet out in front of her, looking straight ahead,” Elva insisted.

At home, we heard on TV that two hikers were lost on Larch Mountain. “I’m sure I saw one of those women,” Elva kept saying until finally we called the sheriff’s office. That afternoon, two officers came and asked us to drive with them to the place where Elva had seen the woman. 

We arrived at Multnomah Falls at dusk. Sheriff Terry Schrunk said that Elva’s description of one of the women jibed perfectly, even to the umbrella and the color of her clothes. The police searched into the darkness, then said they’d continue in the morning.

We went home. We prayed hard for the lost hikers and heard on the news that scores of other people were doing the same.

At 10 a.m., Sheriff Schrunk called. The women had been found! 

“They were on the mountain right above where your sister said we should look,” he told me. “They were trapped above the falls.”

Trapped. The women had been trapped, he said. They couldn’t climb down. 

That meant there was no way that Elva could have seen one of them sitting beside the highway…

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