A year ago, I had a picnic with my hubby on my Pandemic Birthday. That felt odd. So many unknowns a year ago. This year I celebrated with 2 special friends, the day before my birthday. We had all recently been fully vaccinated and it felt wonderful to celebrate!
For nearly 2 decades, Shari, Christy and I saw each other monthly, at book group. We had lunch together right before the pandemic lock down. On April 8, we met up in Houston's Cullen Park. We all got lost and finally found each other. Here we are toasting with champagne. Cheers to being vaccinated!
I will always remember how glorious it felt to sit and talk for hours. For over a year, we've communicated with texts and emails and finally we were together! We had a lot of catching up to do.
I don't care that much for birthdays anymore, but this was a pretty good pre-birthday gift. Being with friends! Cheers to in-person visits once again!
Wagon Wheels Again!
This is not the first time Don and I have picnicked at this rest stop. I love these fine tables, nestled between the giant wagon wheel! I don't remember the birdhouse from before, but it made me laugh when I spotted it!
The thing that I'll remember about this picnic, is that we had just gotten back into the state of Texas. We spent Jan, Feb and half of March in Oregon, celebrating the arrival of our first grandchild. It took some tricky planning during the pandemic, but we felt so lucky to have been able to spend time with both our kids, spouses and Baby Charlie. It was hard saying good-bye to all and a long drive home. But, the good old warm Texas air, felt mighty good!
William Land Park in Sacramento
We've always loved picnics, but the pandemic has drawn more people to parks. We had a hard time finding a parking space. We were lucky to find an open picnic table on a sunny Saturday.
We thought about using this table, near this wild looking tree. Then we went for the sun. We spread out the blanket and opened the chairs on the grass!
Don and I are here with our son and daughter-in-law, enjoying deli sandwiches on a beautiful spring day! We don't take if for granted that we've been able to navigate this crazy pandemic and have a few picnics with family this year. It's not easy, with family spread out in different states. It makes the food tastier and the smiles bigger!
I love picnics with family!
This is yet another picnic from Missouri in the 1970's. I'm guessing this is about 1974. Mom looks almost irritated. She did not like me snapping my camera.
My younger brother Dave looks mighty sporty, balancing that lid, like a party hat. He ignored the camera.
Mom, Dave and I picnicked a lot in the 70's. We always used a Styrofoam cooler for our sodas and cold cuts and salads. Dave is blocking the festive thing, that was covered with his artwork. We always made sure to pack a ballpoint pen along with our picnic food... so Dave could add one more cartoon to the cooler!
2 Weeks Old Today
The sun came out and the temps got up into the 50's! Heidi and Jamie decided it was time to get out and celebrate Baby Charlie's 2-week birthday!
She slept through her first walk in the stroller. She slept through our picnic of smoked salmon, cheese and apples.
Charlotte also slept through her little photo session with Mommy and Daddy.
One More Pic
Then Grammaloon insisted on getting a photo of the 3 generations! Then it was time to put masks back on and head to the car.
Little Charlie was a perfect picnic baby! But I have a feeling all Pandemic Babies are going to be a little extra special and "good"! Their parents have worked extra hard to make their world safe and they're going to enjoy it!
Sunday in the Park
When I ran across these images on old slides, memories came flooding back to me.
My family had just moved from Florida to Michigan. On one of the first weekends after moving, we packed up for a day of picnicking.
I'm so glad Mom took these photos, because this is what I remember about family picnics. We brought more than food!
Dad and Me
We brought games and books, drawing pads and frisbees. We lugged lawn chairs and coolers, blankets and table cloths. We brought our entertainment for the day.
I'm guessing Dad was about 45 in this pic. I was 16. We look very serious about our Yahtzee game.
I love seeing this and being reminded that this past October, I picnicked with my dad in Missouri. He was 92 and I was 63, but just like our picnic of many years ago... we lugged along much more than food!
What do I remember about this lovely picnic? The fast food burger tasted fabulous!
I also remember it was 100 degrees, but we weren't going to eat inside because we were cautious pandemic travelers! We were at the very end of our long TX - OR- TX road trip and had eaten about 5,000 sandwiches. Our Burger King feast was heavenly!
With the Kids
In August, Don and I drove out west for a safe reunion with our kids. This picnic was with our son and daughter in law... before meeting up with our daughter and son in law, in Oregon.
What a treat! After 5 months of hunkering down, we got to spend time with our kids. All 6 of us had agreed on quarantine rules ahead of time, so we could feel safe together.
I remember the fog lifting as we sat at this table. The view got prettier. Once we got in the car, the scenery continued to improve! Redwood trees and dramatic coastline! I want to go back to August!
In August, we traveled from TX to OR to be with our kids. We had a lot of picnics on the way, to avoid contact with others.
Our first picnic on the road trip was at a rest stop in New Mexico. We parked, grabbed food and walked to the table in our masks.
I sprayed the table with disinfectant and laid down the blanket. We put the camera on a timer and documented our 2020 picnic. The masks came off and the peanut butter and jelly was delicious!
Gas Station Picnic in New Mexico
Last summer, Don and I traveled safely to see our kids. We packed our own food and sanitized picnic tables in rest stops.
But a lot of rest stops were closed down. This was one of our car picnics. It was at a gas station, with lots of Native American decor.
This is pretty disgusting. Not all picnics are lovely and healthy. But, I was hungry and I remember it tasted pretty darn good.
August 2020 in Oregon
For years I thought Don and I were the only ones who still went on picnics. Now everyone is picnicking, thanks to the pandemic.
I'm so glad we got to visit our kids on the west coast this past August. We almost got turned away at this wonderful park on the lake. They were almost at capacity. We lucked out, with our own little lakeside spot, on the gravel. The spread of food wasn't spectacular, but the view was lovely. Spending time with the 4 "kids" was the best part.
Don and I were driving back from Missouri, when I spotted this park from the highway. I made Don do a u-turn.
It was the slide that caught my eye! It was just like the one I remember from Grinnell, Iowa. My sister called it the Piano Slide. I have such memories of watching my brother climb to the top of the steep and slippery metal slide. I was too small and couldn't even attempt.
Oh how I wish we'd had a picnic basket packed... along with a nice cloth. That table looked bit dirty!
Not First Choice
Don and I tried to take our picnic to Enchanted Rock State Park. But we were turned away. We hadn't made reservations, which are required during this pandemic.
When the ranger suggested Cross Mountain Park, we headed there. The small park had brand new picnic tables, but it's hard to compete with the scenery at Enchanted Rock!
We didn't realize the park's name was due to a real cross at the top. At first that seemed odd for a public park. Why a cross in this day of diversity?
But we hiked up the trail and found the metal cross that has been standing since 1949. It replaced the old wooden one!
This little mountain overlooking the town of Fredericksburg, is full of history... Native Americans... Spanish missionaries... Easter bonfires...
It's November 2020 as I write this. A year ago, we joined our dear friends (and old neighbors) in Tulsa's newest park. Gathering Place! It was a lovely day and we enjoyed every moment.
I'm so grateful for that visit. In a year things have changed. We are of course dealing with pandemics in our different states. And the four of us are expecting our baby grand daughters! Oh how I wish our families lived across the street from each other now!
Another Missouri Gravel Bar Picnic
I can't believe I found another! Look at my 2 brothers and my dear mom, hanging out near the Current River, in Missouri!
This was probably around 1978. Looks like the photo is reversed, since the Diet Pepsi on my can is backwards. I spy some Grey Poupon and a tomato, and some other sandwich fixings. And yes! There's the fabulous Styrofoam cooler, covered in my younger bro's cartoon drawings.
Oh I miss our wonderful picnics!
I found this, when I went through old slides from the 1970's. I remember picnicking with my brother and his two friends in Missouri.
I recognize the Styrofoam cooler, covered in cartoon drawings. My brother decorated the grubby thing, with a ballpoint pen. I see a bag of Lays and pop bottle and lots of junk. Missouri rivers are beautiful, but this image makes me laugh. We look like a little bunch of hillbillies, just relaxing by a pond!
I was thrilled when I found this old slide! I remember the picnic well. It was 1972 and our family was visiting the Betts family, in Kentucky.
Mrs, Betts was an amazing cook, but I remember we kids did not appreciate her cold cucumber soup. We made fun of the chilled soup, but devoured her sandwiches, made with her homemade sour dough bread.
What I don't remember is that our family station wagon had a campaign plate on the front bumper. That year, George McGovern lost to Nixon in one of the biggest landslides in U.S. history.
Since today is Election Day in 2020, I'll share this picnic memory. I hope we voted for a winner in this year's election!
This was a fun find, from 1975 I believe.
I vaguely remember when Mark, Carrie and I had a brown bag picnic in this St. Louis park. I wonder what we ate? I wonder what was in the metal thermos? I'm guessing hot chocolate. I love seeing fallen leaves. Today it's September 29, 2020. It's about 85 degrees in Sugar Land, Texas. We don't really have fall here.
This is just one more picnic post from our August road trip to Oregon.
We found this pretty little rest stop along the Blue Star Memorial Highway, in California. It was a treat to have hills and trees and green! Lucky for us, we didn't have to fight for this prime table. Nobody seemed to be stopping to picnic, except us!
I don't have fond memories of this picnic. But I do remember it. Don and I stopped for sandwiches at this rest stop in New Mexico. We were on our way from TX to OR. This was one of many picnics, because of the pandemic. Our rest stop picnics also gave us a chance to use restrooms, which were cleaner and safer than gas stations.
I remember sitting at this table and cringing at the all the people headed from cares to the restrooms. We finished lunch and I made Don drive us to the next (quieter) rest stop for bathroom break.
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!