I was never one to look forward to a picnic in the park. When it was first brought up a few years ago by members of a social club, which I belong to, I had to first be convinced it was a good idea before going along reluctantly.
You might wonder, why would anyone object to a picnic in the park? Isn’t that something that most enjoy, and would be thrilled to have a group to spend a lazy afternoon with? Hollywood even made a movie titled Picnic with Kim Novak and William Holden. I can see the reasoning, but it is flawed.
The lazy afternoon is preceded by shopping, cooking, getting ice, finding the cooler, packing the cooler, remembering all the condiments, (there is no on site deli), unearthing beach chairs, packing the car, programing the GPS (which directs you to the wrong place), and getting lost.
After discovering the right parking field, you can unload the car and search out your group. Once there, some dedicated souls light and stoke the rusty, barbecue pit. This park pit has been cleansed only by the last rain and burned off lighter fluid, after being used by every single park goer since the opening of the state park many years ago. Eisenhower was probably President.
As soon as you open your chairs after testing several spots for flat ground, you must eat, as you’ve skipped breakfast and lunch because you were going to a picnic and now your stomach is growling so loud it sounds like bears have found their way down from upper New York State. Gotta stem the noise quickly or you can clear out the park of all the other 2000 picnickers.
You’ve eaten, your covered with delicious but gooey sauces, so you must make a trek to the public toilets in order to wash before the bugs, beetles, spiders and other crawly, flying, things make a picnic of you.
Perhaps I exaggerate just a little bit. Did I forget to mention how generous everyone is with their delicious ribs, burgers, chops, hotdogs, chicken, corn and pasta salads. How refreshing was the cold ham and watermelon. Pie, cookies and smores to keep your waistline up and fully packed. Of course there was the smiles, laughs and good company of old-time friends and some brand new ones, who we will see at other of our gatherings just because of the welcome and warmth of all the people who attended this picnic in the park.
It seems to me that the clean up of our area and the repacking of the car went so much easier because of the many friendly, helpful, hands and choruses of, “you liked my salad so much, why don’t you take some home.” Like any good picnickers we left our designated area litter free so it could be used the following day by other happy campers.
After weighing the pros and cons, just maybe I can be talked into going again next year. Do you think I might see you there?