“No, it is not only our fate but our business to lose innocence, and once we have lost that, it is futile to attempt a picnic in Eden."
“We hope that, when the insects take over the world, they will remember with gratitude how we took them along on all our picnics."
“If the rain spoils our picnic, but saves a farmer's crop, who are we to say it shouldn't rain?"
June eighteenth, was Picnic Day! The last few days have been no picnic here. Yesterday was one of those aggravating; never ending; everything that can annoy you, will days. The day before was as well. I know you have had those days. We all do. I don't mind them every so often.. I do mind when I have a week of them all shoved together. What I should have done yesterday was hopped into my car and drove to the beach and sat there and had myself a personal picnic.
I have always loved to go on a Picnic. When we were small children, Daddy and Mama would load all of us kids into Their Falcon and off we would head for a picnic and fun at Hampton Park; In Charleston South Carolina. Many times Our Grandmothers would go along for the fun day as well. We would drive the couple of hours down to Charleston packed into the car and arrive just about time for lunch. Often times Grandma Morris would drive her own car and allow Jimmy and Frank to ride with her. Those times were even better because she aside from giving us more room in Daddy's little car also would bring a fresh Baked Pound cake.
Daddy would pick out a couple of picnic tables. Usually having to carry one; with the boys all on one end and him on the other; a few yards to put two together for all of us to have room. Then Mama and the two Grandma's would put on the table cloths while Daddy and the boys carried the boxes of food and coolers of drink from the cars. My grandma always said a table wasn't set without a cloth. The rest of us would watch the squirrels as they gathered around waiting for someone to offer them a bite of what ever you had. They were so tame that Jimmy a few times could get one to take food from his hand.
Once the tables were set with paper plates and Big cups of Tea or Cool-aid that Daddy had poured from jugs, that had made the trip shoved way down under the ice in the old cooler. We would all find a seat and Bow our heads for the blessing. Daddy would always ask a blessing on the food and thank God for the day that we had been given to enjoy together as a family.
Mama would serve Fried chicken and Big bowls of Potato salad. Bologna sandwiches with Mayo and mustard. Cookies and Potato chips. The food would be warm having made the long trip in the trunk of the car in a big cardboard box. You see, That was before the days when we were told not to eat Mayo or anything with mayo on picnics. But we would all stuff as much as we could hold in.. We would toss the bread crust to the million squirrels and pigeons that would gather around us hoping for a crumb. After we had finished every last bite and all the paper plates were carried to the big green cans nearby, we were ready for a walk over to the Zoo.
I do have to tell y'all that although we thought it was great when we were kids, That was about the most pitiful excuse for a zoo I have ever seen. They had lots and lots of Monkeys. And Not much else. They had a bear that only had three legs. He didn't get around much but he would eat a hot dog bun if you tossed him one. We would also hand them to the monkeys when they would stick their hand out through the Bars as you walked by. Mama almost always had a couple of bags of buns that we could give to the animals. They also had a few big cats but they were honestly too old to even roar. I especially remember a lion that had no teeth. I guess that by the time we discovered that wonderful Picnic spot it was sadly in it's last days. I was still a child when they closed the pitiful zoo. But we always enjoyed picnicking there. We would see the biggest cat fish and Bream as we walked to the zoo over curve backed bridges and we would laugh and laugh as the squirrels followed along chattering at us begging for hand-outs.
Grandma Morris would pose us in front of the fountains and on the bridges to make pictures of us with her old Brownie Hawk eye camera.
We would always end the Charleston day with a trip to the museum. It too was in bad shape and was later moved to become part of the State museum in Columbia. But we loved those days. When all of us along with our parents and Grand-ma's would spend time together.
When my own children were born I carried them on Picnics to the beach or even if times were tight just to the local state park. I would carry all the "Safe" foods packed in ice with no mayo, no eggs. But I always carried plenty of food and plenty of drinks shoved down into ice so that they would be icy to drink. I always bake a pound cake the day before. I still carry a table cloth on my picnics. I still Bless my picnic food in the same way that my Dad did. Thanking God for the time we spend together as family. Asking that we enjoy that day. Last year I even went on a Picnic with my son and his Family in New Mexico. It too was a wonderful day. They had almost all the same things that I had carried when My son was younger on our Picnics. I hope that some of that wonder will remain with him and even with his children as they grow older.
When I couldn't remember the name of the Park where we went as kids I asked My oldest brother.. He couldn't remember either the name but he did remember the park. He remembered things like the cannons and some other Military type things that I had forgotten about until he mentioned them.He remembered what impressed him. I was of course impressed by different things because I'm younger than him and just have different interests. My Mom did know the name of the park. She remembered mostly the beautiful fountains that were there. I remembered those too because even to this day I love the sound of a fountain.
If you get a chance go on a picnic with a child. Choose a place with something that will capture that child's interest and create a memory that will move on with them. Bless that picnic with prayer if that is your way. But just for a time leave the world's worries behind and enjoy a day with family or with a special friend. And remember that a Table cloth adds a special something. Even to a picnic table.
Have a wonderful day!