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 fabulous tour of the Shelburne Farm, near Burlington.
We 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.
Picnic on the Rocks
A few weeks ago, we hiked on a beautiful fall day in Squaw Valley. The scenery was spectacular and the picnic sandwiches were extra delicious... because we earned them! But the company was the best part!
Nothing like hiking and picnicking with 2 little mountain goat, great-nephews!
Tennessee, in the Path of Totality
This may go down as the most memorable picnic ever. It was totally worth the 921 mile drive, getting to our picnic spot in Pikeville, Tennessee!
On August 20, Don and I left Sugar Land, Texas. We picked up our son in Louisiana, spent the night in Alabama, then headed towards Tennessee in hopes of finding a spot to view the eclipse in the Path of Totality! By late morning, we came upon the small town of Pikeville and found quite a number of folks picnicking in the local cemetery. Perfect! We ate our Swiss cheese sandwiches on Sunshine bread with Sun Chips and Moon Pies. (Saved our Blue Moon Beer for later) The picnic highlight was of course the 2.5 minutes of darkness, when the cemetery suddenly felt cooler and cricket sounds filled the air.
Don and I had a breakfast picnic (coffee & roll) beside the railroad tracks last June.
We found "Lookout" about 2 hours south of Casper. There was no town left, but we found a sign and one wooden building. We had hoped to find more, in the town where some of Don's relatives once worked for the railroad and post office. But we did meet the ranchers who now own the land. They found us on their property and were gracious enough not to kick us off.
A couple weeks ago, Don and I crossed over the Pecos River on our trip in West Texas. After crossing we headed up to the viewing area and found a couple of picnic shelters.
It wasn't a planned picnic, but we had food in the car. We couldn't miss out on an opportunity to picnic above the impressive Pecos River. We ended up having a fun chat with a traveling couple from Georgia. The woman was from Korea originally and she and I had a sort of amusing conversation about foods of Korea. We both misunderstood each other about 10 times, which sent the conversation off on wild tangents. Memorable!
Don and I have entered Mexico through Big Bend Park's legal crossing, twice before. We didn't have time on our recent trip, but we did have a picnic with a view of Mexico.
As we ate our sandwiches, we watched 3 men paddle across the Rio Grande towards the US side. They climbed the hill to check on the crafts they had displayed on a large rock. It's illegal to buy "contraband" and we already have walking sticks and wire animals from previous trips across the border. We finished our lunch, then grabbed a bag of 20 candy canes from the car. Don wrote a note in Spanish, (For the children) and left the bag and note near the money can. 20 toothbrushes would have been a better gift...
The best thing about this picnic a week ago, was seeing our great nephews and catching up with their parents. The most interesting part of our picnic was observing other picnics in this park, just miles from the headquarters of Apple Inc. In one direction, we watched a family gathering with colorful saris and cricket bats. The patriarch of the group was grilling kabobs nearby. Another gathering had little girls in colorful party dresses, a table of wrapped gifts, a pinata and balloons. The playgrounds were filled with children and parents of all colors!
High Above Lake Tahoe
Yesterday Don and I had a pretty special picnic. We drove up to a trail that gave us a wonderful view of Lake Tahoe, without miles of strenuous hiking. It was still tough. I finished my last chemo less than 3 weeks ago, so I had to take it slow. We had ham and turkey sandwiches, chips and lots of water for hydrating. The fresh, cool air smelled of pine and the view couldn't have been more spectacular. Too bad you can't see the lake in this photo, but we were staring right down at it!
This hardly looks like a picnic, but it was a special one. We were having breakfast burritos and coffee at the National Mall in D.C. Our bench gave us a view of our first stop that morning, The Lincoln Memorial.
We started out early on a warm July day. Scott called in our burrito order for pick up. Chail (who took the pic) helped get their puppy to "doggy daycare" and we reached the Mall before the crowds and heat became miserable. We carried leftovers in case we found someone hungry, but the crowds seemed to be well fed!
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!