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.
April Birthday 2020
I often choose picnics on my birthday. That's lucky, because that was the only option for "going out" on my birthday this year. Texas and most states are pretty much closed down for Coronavirus.
It felt daring and almost illegal, to take our picnic to our neighborhood park.
We brought our own chairs. We wouldn't have used the public tables, even if the area hadn't been taped off.
The park looks lovely and quiet in this photo. But actually we watched some tree service workmen, gathering at a picnic table to eat lunch and play cards. And we saw a family of 7, fishing. We saw joggers and about 2 people in face masks. It felt oddly uncomfortable just watching and judging. We finished up and headed home to our pretty and comfortable backyard.
This photo, I'm guessing was taken in Alabama, when on a road trip 6 years ago. It's not the best photo of Driver Don and it's not the best spread of food.
But lately I've been thinking of all the times my family picnicked on travels, when I was a kid. Today we have so many fast food options, there's less need for travel picnics. I'm so glad Don is always game to make use of a public picnic table!
Florida to Michigan in 1973
I ran across old slides recently, so it's time for some picnic memories.
This image shows my dad and brother on the left side of the table. I sit with my sister on the other side. Our boxer, Folly, was posing with a dangling tongue. My younger bro seemed to be flexing his muscles.
Almost the Same
For a moment, I thought this photo was from the same picnic. We're sitting in the same spots. Mom is once again, behind the camera.
I'm not sure where these parks were, but I'm guessing they both were somewhere between Florida and Michigan. It is now clear that we were traveling to our new home in Ann Arbor... picnicking to save money, but also because we had a dog.
I have to laugh as I recall all of the picnics with my family, that also involved travel and pets. This journey, unlike a few others, involved no cats and kittens!
In early June, Don and I were inspired when we found some amazing marble picnic tables along Crystal River.
Also, we were eager to use the vintage picnic basket we had picked up at an antique store, a week before.
The setting was glorious, with mountains, river and fresh spring growth. It was early morning and the marble benches were cold, but the sun warmed us. We didn't have much to eat, for our spontaneous morning picnic. But the scenery made our coffee, fruit and granola bars, extra yummy!
Tower Grove Park in St. Louis, MO
This year, I was in St. Louis on Mother's Day.
Even though I was by myself, I decided to celebrate the day with a picnic. I grabbed lunch from a deli and headed to one of my favorite parks. Most of the beautiful pavilions sat empty, because of the cold, drizzly weather.
Mom and Me
The sun peeked out as I headed towards an empty pavilion. I set out my tiny picnic and snapped a photo with the timer button. My photo shows that I was not a bit mopey about my solo picnic. I was glad to spend time thinking about Mom and my kids.
I didn't grow up in St. Louis, but Mom did. I ended up in St. Louis and both of my kids were born there. I remember many St. Louis picnic feasts... with Mom and my Grandma Daw and Heidi and Scott! I loved thinking about that, while I sipped my Fitz's Root Beer. Mom loved Fitz's, so I got an extra straw for her.
Wow! It's been 6 years since I started this blog on Mother's Day.
Happy Mother's Day again, to Mom and Me!
Blackburn Park in Webster Groves, Missouri
I recently went through old photos, that brought back memories of an amusing picnic. I remember this gathering, with my friends Karen and Mark in the early 1990's. I just didn't know there were pictures from that day!
Karen and I were young (and fashionable!) mothers. We were obviously good gym coaches as well!
The Cool Kids Watch
Eventually our kids must have tired of picnicking and hanging from trees. We colorfully dressed moms, were forced to create entertainment.
I have a vague memory of the game we invented, that involved uneaten picnic food... specifically, raw broccoli. Our enthused kids took to the game, wildly tossing and chasing after the little flowerets. The best part of the game, was that it attracted the attention of some cool, older boys. We used a Tom Sawyer approach... "What? You haven't heard of the Broccoli Game?" Before long the cool kids eagerly joined our game. I sure hope they later told their friends about the cool picnickers, that they met at the park.
I had fun studying these photos and remembering. I had more fun, sharing the pics with Karen and Mark, when I visited St. Louis last week. If it hadn't been raining, we could have had a picnic!
Turning 62 isn't all that exciting. But, the weather was lovely on April 9th and I celebrated the day, instead of the age!
First, Don and I picked up a most unhealthy lunch at Buc-ee's. (It's a Texas thing) Then, we headed to Hamilton pool, not far from Austin.
At the picnic table, Don pulled out a thermos of Mimosas and I was a happy picnicker! I wasn't a happy swimmer, because the natural pool was closed that day. Actually, that meant no crowds. A peaceful picnic works for me!
First Time in Vermont
I love entering a state that I've never visited.
A picnic is a pretty good way to celebrate!
Our picnic, was honestly just a yummy ending to a morning at Shelburne Farm, near Burlington.
We enjoyed a fabulous tour, then bought our "picnic" of grilled cheese sandwiches, from a cart.
We found a table, just outside the barn where the cheese was made! Then we moved (along with a chicken) into the shade, to enjoy our feast with Jennifer and Kate... who have been in this picnic blog many times!
Yay for farms! Yay for Vermont cheese! Yay for picnics.
2-Day Drive from Texas to Missouri
This past April, I drove to Springfield, MO to help with my father's move. I'm used to road trips, but this time I was the driver. I'm used to crossing my legs in the passenger's seat, staring out the window and navigating.
But I suddenly learned, that it was pretty fun to stop whenever and wherever I wanted. I grabbed a little food at a rest stop, to supplement some fruit and snacks from the car. I know I can hardly call this a picnic, but I loved my little Oklahoma rest stop! Yay for my first Solo Picnic... sort of!
April 2018 in Sugar Land, TX
With no kids around for Easter, Don and I found a way to make the holiday festive.
We headed to Pecan Park at 8 am, with our coffee, donuts, mimosa fixings and breakfast tacos. I decorated with my little Steiff bunny, a tiny basket of jellybeans and a rose from our daughter's wedding a week before. We tried to get the Sunday New York Times but had to settle for the local paper. We chatted with other park visitors and even launched a few cheap toy boats, which we left behind for others to enjoy. Best of all, it was a lovely spring day!
Thoughts of Sonoma
A recent visit to Sonoma reminded me of this picnic memory. Sadly, at this moment, wildfires are destroying homes and habitats in Sonoma and Napa.
I remember little about this wine and food gathering, but the photo is peaceful. I love the lake and hazy hills, the wine bottles and smiles. I hope this very spot was spared.
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!