This is hardly a picnic memory, because it's a photo from today. But I don't think I'll ever forget this lovely feast on a June afternoon in Aspen, Colorado. The weather was ideal... the view of blue sky, white clouds, green mountains and colorful flowers was out of a book... the nearby river added a soothing gurgle... we got to use the $5.00 picnic basket we just purchased an antique store... and we got to sit at the most amazing ten-ton table made of split logs, polished smooth! Fred and Wilma couldn't have had a better time than Don and I!
I don't remember this picnic, but I was there. I was the baby, being fed by my grandmother, Daw... as my sister, Jenni fiddled with my blanket. I know this is a stretch because there is no picnic basket, so maybe there really was no picnic. But I'm being fed, so it was a picnic for me. And I love the image in the wooded park. I love that I'm being held by my beloved grandmother, before I even knew I would love her so dearly. And I love seeing my sweet sister in her overalls, watching. She didn't know yet, how many wonderful adventures we would end up having as sisters!
There is a lot I remember when I look at this photo. My family had just driven into Oregon and we met up with my sister Jennifer and her partner, Kate. I remember seeing Bailey their golden retriever sitting in their Saab convertible, wearing driving goggles. I remember the waterfalls we hiked beside as we worked up an appetite for our picnic. I remember how cool and shady it felt compared to hot, sunny Texas.
But what I will always remember about this picnic is that it was the day my kids learned to love chicken salad! (A food they for some reason never tolerated) Ever since this picnic they have craved Aunt Jenni's creamy chicken salad with grapes and celery, curry and nuts!
Monsanto Company Picnic in 1950
I found this photo years ago in a box that came from my in-law's home. I loved it so much I framed it. My mother-in-law, Clay is the one holding my sister-in-law, Jane...who has her hand in her mouth. This is not my picnic memory, but I've spent years studying the details of this image...the clothing, the stroller, the basket, the expressions. It pulls me into a humid summer day, back when I imagine time drifted by more slowly...and people went on more picnics.
A Fall Day in 1985
I remember this warm fall day, picnicking across the road from Pere Marquette Lodge in Grafton, Illinois. I don't remember the food, although it looks like a bottle of champagne. Mostly I remember talking about wanting to have kids. The following October, our daughter Heidi was born.
I have no idea what we were laughing at over our McDonald's breakfast, but I know I adored these tiny outings with my mom and grandmother. Mom was always prepared for a spontaneous picnic, with lawn chairs and a milk crate in the trunk. She knew Daw loved picnics and often packed up elaborate feasts. But sometimes a little fast food on the side of the road was just good enough!
Mom's Picnic List
In honor of my mother on the first Mother's Day since she has passed, I dedicate a new list... Mom's Picnic List!
Mom loved picnics and she raised her kids to appreciate the simple pleasures of food, family and friends in the great out of doors.
I will spend a year reflecting on as many past picnics as I can remember. But, I'll also
appreciate the here and now by creating new picnic experiences. My goal is to share at least 60 picnic memories, since that's how many years Mom was a mom!
Let the picnics begin!