Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Best Picnic Ever

It’s been years since I’ve been on a picnic. Our family did that a lot while I was growing up. We were always heading for some park, with picnic basket packed in the trunk, setting up near a grill, and chowing down. Or at least, I seem to remember us doing that a lot before I became a teenager and totally unreasonable. (Aren’t nearly all teenagers almost totally unreasonable?)

The one I remember best happened in August the year I was eight years old. All day long my folks had talked about taking us on a picnic to Hamlin Beach State Park. In those days, it seemed like it was a million miles away, but actually it’s just a half hour down the Lake Ontario State Parkway. (Time and distance seem longer when you’re eight.)

The closer we got to the park, the darker the sky became. By the time we stopped the car, the rain started to fall. Not gently, but in buckets. No swimming. No picnic. I remember us sitting in the car, watching the lightning over the water and we all became more glum by the minute. There was nothing to do but start the car and head back home.

At the time, my Dad was building an addition onto our house. It was to be a HUGE family room and in August, it was just roughed in. No windows, just plywood on the floor, walls, and ceiling. My mother decided it would be a great place to have a picnic.

I can remember sitting with my brothers at the picnic table (which was brought inside) and we all sat down to eat fresh corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, and deli sliced ham. I remember us laughing a lot while we ate and the rain came down in buckets around us. I remember being happy.

What I wouldn’t give to go back to that rainy day and be with my brothers and Mom and Dad again.

What’s your favorite picnic memory?