The foibles of youth…

I often find myself thinking, “man, I wish I understood ___________ when I was younger.”  But I didn’t.  Our brains are not developed enough.  I understand this now.  I’ve been mired in travelling down memory lane for a few months.  It’s hard not to be since I’ve been helping my elderly parent pack up the old family home.  The other day I was handed a photo.  It kind of blew my mind.

Part of me thought, “wow, I looked pretty good.”  Part of me thought, “wow, I was huge.”  Part of me thought, “why was I so insecure?”  I’m not capable of answering any of those questions.  And, as I’ve become overly fond of saying, it is what it is.  Water under the bridge.  Moments gone by.

I was either 15 or 16 in this photo, probably 16 and heading into my senior year of high school.  At my lowest weight of 150 lbs (5’9″), I still felt awkwardly large compared to most other girls.  I’ve cropped another person out of the photo.  She was far more petite and considered very “cute” for the time period.  It’s not necessary for her to be present nor would I publish a photo without permission.

My youthful insecurities aside, this photo was the start of a very fun evening.  My friend’s aunt had taken us for a weekend at the former Lake Placid Club.  An old-fashioned resort/lodge, there was a main building and several cottages scattered in a woodsy setting.  Think the setup for Dirty Dancing on a smaller scale.  We stayed in one of the large cottages adjacent to the lodge.  It was an enjoyable weekend of swimming in Mirror Lake, playing tennis on clay courts (a real treat), horseback riding, and playing platform tennis.  I was lucky to be afforded this experience.  However, the best was dinner in the main building.

I couldn’t even tell you what we had to eat.  But we were expected to dress nicely.  I’m attired in a favorite wrap-around skirt paired with a favorite bodysuit top (it was the 70’s).  A blazer completed the package.  Since I didn’t own dress shoes in those days, a beloved pair of clogs had to suffice.  After dinner, we adjourned to the lounge where many patrons were enjoying drinks.  We sat and chatted.  People were dancing.  A nice looking, middle-aged man approached the table and asked my friend’s aunt to dance.  She demurred.  He turned to my friend and she readily accepted.  Off they went to trip the light fantastic.  It looked like a scene from a movie.

There was a pause in the music and it was my turn.  Though I was slightly taller than my dance partner, he moved with a well-practiced grace.  For the first time I wasn’t embarrassed to be seen with a man/boy shorter than I.  It was exhilarating and our dance ended with me in a deep dip.  Wow, the guy was strong.

Turns out he was the dance instructor for the club and spent the evening trying to drum up business.  Part of me believes he enjoyed dancing with two young and giggling vixens.  As for us, we dreamily drifted back to our cottage busily sniffing our hands which retained the scent of his Brut aftershave.  What a night.  And what I wouldn’t give to look as “badly” as I thought I did that night.

 

 

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The Alone Girl, part three

A tang filled the air tickling the girl’s nose.  Watery sun filtered through high clouds.  The girl walked on, the scent of burning leaves pleasant on the air.  Garbed in an old sage green wool sweater of her father’s, a perfect accompaniment to Levi’s jeans, the girl felt comfortable as she trekked the two miles to the football game.  For some reason, the varsity games were moved to a newer field at the high school that year.  The previous location, the old field at the middle school, was only blocks from the girl’s house and much more convenient.

Along the way, she spent a short time wondering why she seemed always to walk alone.  Many of her friends got rides to the game, yet never asked her to ride along.  Oh well, it gave the girl time to indulge her imagination.  Trekking past the small pond along the main road, the alone girl thought it a nice setting to live.  She would enjoy waking up to views of the pond outside the window.  But in her mind the pond was not located adjacent to a busy road.  It was more secluded in a woodsy area.  A small barn stood nearby, just large enough for her two horses to live.  Dogs barked a merry greeting to any and all who dropped by.  The girl would like that very much.

The honk of a horn broke her daydream.  The autumnal aroma of burning leaves had long ago changed to car exhaust.  In the distance, across the intersection, was her target.  It was rather a large school in the sense that it sprawled in a spider shape. To add distance to her sojourn, the new football field was tucked in at the rear of the school.  Cutting across a myriad of athletic fields shortened the journey and allowed the girl to escape back into her imagined setting of living by the pond.  These fields would provide hay for her horses.  Two cuttings a year would provide most of what she would need to winter her animals.  Who was she kidding?  She was just a kid who spent too much time alone dreaming about the unattainable.  A girl in the 1970’s from a “broken” home wasn’t expected to amount to much.  To heck with that, she’d show them.

Across the fields she walked and grinned when she thought about what she’d learned on these fields.  The tomboy loved the thrill of competition.  On these fields she was taught many games:  speedball, field hockey, soccer.  How she loved running, kicking, competing.  Nearby were the tennis courts.  That’s a story for another day.  As she rounded the edge of the building, she spied the growing crowd.  The teams had just entered the field and were involved in pre-game warm ups.  As she entered the gate, her name was called and she spotted a gaggle of classmates.  It was game time.  It was a wonderful Saturday afternoon tradition.  It was time for the alone girl to join in with the crowd.

autumn sun

 

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The Alone Girl, Part Deux

A slice of fiction…

The girl ambled down the long road.  Long past twilight, she looked forward to getting home and eating dinner.  The darkness during the winter months seemed to possess an extra layer of inky blackness.  But the girl didn’t mind because she loved the razor sharp quality of the air.  When it was really cold, the girl sometimes wondered if her nostrils would freeze shut.  It felt like they would.

Though a staunch tomboy, the alone girl took sewing lessons.  These lessons were given in a young woman’s home, a distance of over a mile from where the girl lived.  Sewing lessons had replaced swim team for the tomboy.  The girl missed the swim team but it was a co-ed team and she had reached her feminine maturation during the beginning of the sixth grade.  It was difficult to explain why she missed practices each month, so after the sixth grade the girl left the swim team..  Plus she was the only girl her age with a pronounced bosom.  She could tolerate being teased but on top of the verbal spewings from her brother, she chose not to put herself in a position to be teased.  After all as the decade changed from the 60’s to the 70’s, the female population was still a non-entity.

The alone girl didn’t like to sew.  Her mind wandered too much and she lost track of her desire to sew straight seams.  She spent a great deal of the time ripping out her mistakes.  And it was okay.  Mostly she just wanted the company of her sewing teacher.  Now here was a female who was ahead of her time.  Born with a congenital condition in that the lower half of her body never developed, this young woman thrived by concentrating on the skills she possessed with her hands.  It seemed she could craft anything.  She was also a patient and caring teacher who didn’t mind that the alone girl didn’t like to sew.  Betty sat in a makeshift-type of wheelchair, one with a large shelf on which her craft materials lay.  Her hands were gifted, sure and strong.  And she never seemed to mind the childish chatter that emanated from the girl’s mouth.

Betty recognized a kindred spirit, another alone girl.  Alone girls were never lonely because they had so many interests.  Alone girls could be very outgoing and humorous.  Alone girls felt things far more deeply than their peers.  Alone girls could recognize, without difficulty, other alone girls.  And alone girls were content to be alone together.

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Are bygones a thing of the past?

I’m quick to admit that I have a tendency to live in the past a bit too much at times.  There are lots of happy memories there but I do my best to stay rooted in the present.  And honestly, I miss the spontaneous part of my personality that existed then.  However, times change as we do along with them.

Today I say goodbye to my childhood home.  Was my time there always hunky dory?  Of course not.  But that house and yard played a big part in shaping me as an individual.  It even has an auspicious beginning.  While in the third grade, I was invited to a birthday party at a classmate’s house.  The party had to wrap up early as each of us was instructed to call a parent for a ride home.  Seems they had to “show” the house.  I dutifully recited this information to my mother when she picked me up.  We had moved to town the previous year and were living in a rented duplex.  My mother dropped me back at the duplex, retrieved my father, and they went to see the house.  Over fifty three years later, we are giving another family the opportunity to enjoy it.

As the youngest, I always received the smallest room.  It never bothered me.  As long as I had a comfortable spot to indulge my reading sweet tooth, I was fine.  In addition to my bedroom, I could be found reading on the small screen porch just off the living room.  We had a chaise lounge out there “bought” with several books of green stamps.  Remember licking those and sticking them into the books?  Back in the day, kids like me thought that was fun.  And it was, because you then exchanged those booklets for merchandise.

There is a great yard that goes with the house.  It’s a rectangular-shaped lot that runs deep from the road.  Plus it has an additional side piece we called “the gulley.”  In truth it was where a great deal of construction waste was buried in the late 1930’s when that neighborhood was being built.  The gulley took on many roles in my childhood.  During the Western phase of my childhood it was a box canyon, a mountain pass, or any variety of blizzard-swept plains.  As bicycles became integral to my life, it became a “motocross” track, an obstacle course, or a place to facilitate an escape from unwanted intruders (see also, obnoxious playmates or older siblings).

As I gaze upon the gulley now, I marvel that it was so many things.  My jaundiced adult eye sees a slightly overgrown depressed area of earth running alongside a rock wall that supports a perennial garden, also overgrown due to the ravages of old age (both the garden and my mom).  I’m so glad it is a part of my past.  Though it was a place of play, it was also a spot where I honed my mowing and gardening skills.

It’s a humid rainy day today.  This evokes memories of massive summer storms which left the gulley brimming with a murky pool of water.  Splashing and fun followed quickly as the giant pool of runoff only lived for a few hours as it made its way, as we do, into the earth.

I’m glad the gulley lives to see yet another child romp through it and I hope it creates pleasant memories for him.  While I know I’m supposed to let bygones be bygones, I’m content to squirrel away memories that never fail to bring a smile to my face.  God bless that house, it was a true home.

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But, it’s history!

Have you ever tried to sort through all of those boxes of stuff that you packed away for some arbitrary day?  I’ve been ensnared in this task on and off for the past several weeks as I’ve helped my mom sort through and downsize her belongings.  It’s a time-consuming process for me because I investigate almost every item.

To understand my penchant for history and all things in the past, one must understand my predilection for reading.  Reading is as essential to my life as breathing.  I’ve been a voracious reader since I first learned to read.  Not only do I love to read, I am also driven to “know stuff.”  This means, for me, that if I come across an unfamiliar term I look it up.  Looking something up usually leads to the discovery of another interesting tidbit and it goes on and on.

My schooling was assisted by our 1963 World Book Encyclopedia.  We were lucky to have it.  It was bought piecemeal until the set was complete.  Each year we received a volume that summarized the important events of that year.  I loved that encyclopedia.  Many an hour was spent browsing its contents.  Of course, it is long obsolete and will soon be heading for a recycling bin.  Time marches on.  It was the gateway drug to a world of reference materials.  But, it’s history (literally and figuratively).

Also found during searches of various boxes was a set of military medals belonging to my first cousin, twice removed.  I never met him as he died before I was born.  He served in WWII and in Korea.  While in Korea he contracted a blood disease and died.  He earned those medals and I hate to see them sit in a box.  There really isn’t any other family to share them with, so what does one do with something like that?  I’m not sure yet.   It’s history.

Our sorting also turned up a 1918 Senior Book for New Haven (Hillhouse) High School in New Haven, CT.  It’s 101 years old.  How cool is that?  It’s a wonderful storehouse of culture.  As I looked through it, I pondered how many of those students achieved their stated goals.  The tiny senior pictures hint at the hairstyles and fashions of the time.  What an extraordinary look at the past.  Various student signatures hint at the wonderful penmanship back then.  The book belonged to another cousin, the sister of the aforementioned military veteran.  I called the school and they are thrilled to receive the book as a donation.  I was cheered by that reaction.  Some people might have thrown it out.  But, it’s history!

History is important in understanding our past and predicting our future.  America is such a great amalgamation of different cultures.  It’s our responsibility to preserve the memories of what provided the foundation for this great nation, or, at the very least, to sustain the ancestral fragments that constitute our identities.  History.  Ain’t it grand?

 

 

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Gardening fantasies…

I love the thought of gardening.  I love experiencing a beautiful oasis.  I love working the soil with my hands.  My reality…I’m garden poor.  My fantasies are writing checks that my truth can’t cash.  Yes, I live in a condo but do have areas where I could garden.  Yes, it is mostly shade but there are shade-tolerant plants.  Yes, I have knees that don’t bend so well but there are ways around that.

One household chore I never minded was mowing the lawn.  I was a champion mower and loved making designs in the lawn.  Once I graduated from grass clippers to a weed eater, doing the trimming was a breeze.  This is a right-handed world and back in the day the grass clippers were made for right-handed folks.  As with scissors, I struggled mightily and my efforts always yielded a mangled-looking and sore left hand.  I digress as is my custom.

What would my gardens look like?  In my mind is an old farmhouse-type cottage in New Hampshire.  I visited there a few times when I was a kid, maybe 10 years old.  It was a wonderful place to visit.  The beds seemed high off the ground and even in the summer we needed lots of blankets.  Rag rugs were scattered over the wide plank wood floors.  There was a back porch that looked out to a yard that turned into a field.  Crickets chirped madly and, in the evening, the air sparkled with lightning bugs.  For me it was magical.

If I lived in that farmhouse I would create a long hedge of bridal wreath spirea running down the long edge of the property to the left of the house.  That would create a nice natural break that would help stem any direct wind flow into the back yard area.  Toward the very back of the yard, as it morphs into field, I would expect to have some bee hives.  Ideally, they would be tended by someone else who needed a spot to place some bees.

Adjacent to the back porch area, I would plant groups of lilacs.  Lots of lilacs in order to cut them and bring bunches of them into the house.  One of my favorite poems is “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d,” Walt Whitman’s epic ode to Lincoln.  And lilacs remind me of my childhood.  I love them.  That’s enough for now.  In my mind I’m creating different beds of flowers that pay homage to an earlier time.  I will let you know what I come up with.

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The alone girl…

The spirited tomboy maintained a brisk pace as she made her way to the store at the crossroads.  She grumbled under her breath about having to go for some groceries because it cost her precious reading time.  If she didn’t have plans to play after school, and she often did, she loved nothing more than to curl up with their small dog and read.  It was a peaceful time of day before the clamor of her brother’s arrival from whatever he did after school.  Her mother wouldn’t be home until after 9:00 p.m., due to her night school class.

The best part of going to the store was being at the store.  The older couple who ran the store, Gabe and Sarah, treated her like a precious commodity.  The girl drank it in like a magical nectar.

“Hey, Little Al.  How was school?”  The couple was cheerful to a fault.  The girl grinned at the use of the nickname.  When her family began shopping at the store, Gabe had designated them Al Sr., Mrs. Al, Al Jr., and Little Al.  It didn’t matter that only her father’s name was correct.  He was gone from the picture anyhow, well over a year now.  His penchant for drinking threatened to destroy the family literally and figuratively.  The girl’s mother and brother bore the brunt of her father’s alcohol-induced rage.  Little Al remained untouched by the father but she bore witness to it night after night.

“School was good.  Here’s what I need, Gabe,” Little Al said as she slid a scrap of paper containing a short list across the counter to the stocky man, a butcher by trade.  Sarah beamed at the girl and listened as Little Al regaled her with stories from her day in the 7th grade.

Gabe bustled about the small store.  He called to the girl, “Little Al, grab a package of stuffed shells out of the freezer.”  The girl complied and laid them on the counter.

“Your brother must be cooking tonight.”  Sarah was observant.  When her mother was home, they usually ate sensible meals of meat, potatoes and vegetables.  Her brother liked to be creative and made a jazzed up tomato sauce to put on the stuffed shells.  The head of iceberg lettuce would play a large role in the making of a salad.  And the girl smiled as she knew she would make “Russian” dressing for ketchup and mayonnaise for the salad.  It was one of her favorite salad dressings.

Little Al’s smile dimmed as she remembered if he cooked, she had to clean up.  He always got to cook, being four years her senior.  If she even tried to cook, he would berate her efforts and then smack her a few times to make sure she didn’t do it again.  His beatings went undetected.  The girl never said anything to her mother, for fear of retribution, and her brother never hit her where bruises would show.  Gabe tallied her purchases with his stub of a pencil, the girl was always amazed at how fast he could add in his head, and handed the paper bag of goods to his Little Al.

The girl glanced at the large wall clock with its sweeping second hand.  She realized if she hustled home she would still have almost an hour to read.  It would take her twelve minutes to walk home.  She wished her bike wasn’t broken today.  Every once in a great while her brother flattened one of her bike’s tires just to remind her who was in control.  She could patch the tires in her sleep but was currently in need of a new tire patch kit.  And so, she was on foot.

“See you tomorrow,” the girl said aloud as more customers entered the small store.  Gabe and Sarah waved to their Little Al, smiles in place.  The girl didn’t mind the walk home.  It gave her a chance to think about her favorite books and tv shows.  It was best to think of anything else instead of having to think about spending the evening with her brother.  A quick shudder passed through her as she said a quick prayer that she wouldn’t do or say anything to set him off.  Even if banished to her room, the girl had her imagination for entertainment.  Though she spent a great deal of time alone, she was never lonely.

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Spring means lilacs…

While winter in the Northeast may be dreary and frigid, Spring is a different experience entirely.   Each season has its own smells.  For me, Spring is full of earthy aromas.  Whether it’s the woodsy, rich smell of freshly turned garden soil or the damp smell after a spring rain that makes me think of worms, the heady fragrances of spring-blooming trees and shrubs take precedence.

I do enjoy seeing the bulbs grow and bloom but I have to say hyacinths, though pretty, are far too pungent for my sensitive nose.  I prefer subtle scents and lilacs fit that bill for me.  Lilacs have woven themselves into various parts of my life beginning when I was just a tyke.  Picture a vacant field, maybe the size of a large back yard.  An eight foot barrier of arborvitae protect the field from the dead-end street.  Beyond the hedge is a magical play land.

It even has a name.  It’s called the “lot.”  Not very original but it had enchanting properties.  Many a game was enjoyed there:  kickball, baseball, football.  The field of my youthful athletic pursuits was covered unevenly with grass, weeds, dirt patches, and was bordered by patches of rhubarb and lilac bushes.  A memory emerges of a warm spring afternoon full of that strong, new spring sun. Kids sit around spent after vigorous play, quietly picking apart sprigs of lilac.  I was told if I sucked on the small end of the individual flower, I might get some nectar.  It was true.  It was a satisfying activity.

Lilacs smell like spring, slightly floral with an underlying sweetness.  I grew up seeing the traditional violet and white but they do come in other colors, all beautiful.  One of the first poems I learned in grade school was “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d” by Walt Whitman.  “—and from this bush in the dooryard,/With delicate-color’d blossoms…”  In my mind I’m able to picture this expanse of lilac bush protecting the doorway of this old farmhouse.  I didn’t know until I was in high school, and studied the poem again, that it was written in response to Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.  It is indeed a beautiful elegy, filled with emotion and grief.

When I was teaching, a house near the school had some lilac bushes in the front yard.  As lost as I could become in the end of school year frenzy, it never failed to cheer me on those cool sunny spring mornings to drive by when the lilacs were in bloom.  Waves of their scent washed over me as I drove by and I was transported back to the lot and then to class recitations of Whitman’s poems.  Lilacs represent the best of what spring offers; the offer of lengthening days and and the bounty of summer to come.  Lilacs represent hope and rebirth.  Lilacs represent the baseball season and the promise of football season.

In the words of the Beatles:  “Here comes the sun, and I say/It’s all right.”  Play some classic tunes or turn on a ball game.  Step outside and breathe in the richness of the spring air.  Listen to a little CCR:  “Put me in coach, I’m ready to play today.”  Embrace the season.

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l-i-v-i-n’

In the movie Finding Forrester, teenage Jamal is surprised to discover that famed writer William Forrester reads The National Enquirer.  Forrester says he reads the New York Times as his main course but the Enquirer is dessert.  I understand that thinking.  I’ve studied and taught classics for decades but I also enjoy reading fluff in addition to lots of different genres.  there are fluffy films as well as fluffy books.  We can learn from fluff.

Fluff relates to today’s blog post title.  It’s a term from the film Dazed and Confused.  The film is set on the last day of school in 1976, the time I graduated from high school.  It’s fun to look at the cars and fashions.  Though many characters smoke weed throughout the film, I was oblivious to that back then.  However, I was well acquainted with kegs and beer drinking.  Loved keg parties.  “You gotta do what Randall Pink Floyd wants to do man,” says Wooderson in the movie.  It’s advice for being true to one’s own desires.

Even though I taught at my alma mater for 25 years, I’m certain that I progressed emotionally and intellectually from being in high school.  My high school experience doesn’t define me.  Actually, I’m disappointed that I hung out with some people who turned out not to be nice people.  It’s all part of a learning experience.  One chooses to learn or does not choose to learn.  Plenty of folks remain stuck in that high school mentality, still riddled with angst and mired in their snobbish nastiness.  The joke’s on them, though.  They’re very impressed with themselves.  Most people are able to see through it.

My high school was full of cliques, it still is.  Cliques were exemplified in The Breakfast Club, one of John Hughes’ epic coming-of-age films.  Stereotyping and cliques are an integral part of all high school experiences.  Let’s face it, we don’t know what is going on in anyone’s life at any given time.  We also don’t know how our attitudes and beliefs are affecting others, especially if those beliefs have been determined through use of misinformation.

Think about those stereotypes and then think of how those folks have turned out.  There are plenty of kids who were on the outside looking in who are now very successful.  Some of the popular kids have turned out well, but not all.  And just because one is a success, judged by today’s standards of wealth, etc., doesn’t mean he or she is a nice person.  I know I spent four years trying to “fit in.”  Yes, I made good grades, I played sports, I had friends.  Ultimately the friends I worked so hard to “cultivate” ended up rejecting me at the last.  And I rejected some people who tried to be my friend.

What I didn’t understand…wait, that’s not true.  I did understand but was not yet emotionally equipped to be my own person and not to be what I was expected to be.  It was okay to be smart and to be athletic.  It was okay to be friendly with people outside of the accepted clique.  It was okay to have a strong body and to be proud of it despite those who called you a burly or a dyke.

Thankfully a few of my friends exemplify the definition of “friend” and we remain friends to this day.   One of them spent the day with me yesterday while my boyfriend underwent bypass surgery.  That’s what friends do.  And they don’t give a hoot if I’m sporting a tennis bracelet, a large diamond ring, driving a luxury car and living in a McMansion.  They don’t mind if I’m dressed in jeans and knock-off boat shoes, don’t wear makeup or if my Fossil handbag is five years old.  They know what’s on the inside (not of my handbag).

Jamal, the Breakfast Club kids, and those from Dazed and Confused navigated their teen years ducking and confronting stereotypes.  Just keep livin’.  It’s a choice.  Be true to yourself and be what you are.  Live life on your terms and stop living out your teen fantasies.

See the source image

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A feast of memories…

imageI’ve been visiting the happy memory bank in my head a great deal lately.  It’s a combination of real memories and memories I’d like to achieve.  They may never happen but they might.  Picnicking was a popular pastime when I was a kid.  My family and I enjoyed spending time outdoors and eating al fresco was something we did fairly often.

Living in Vermont provided many opportunities for outdoor activities.  Therefore, circumstances were favorable for picnicking.  We had a traditional wicker picnic basket with the flat wood top and large handles.  Many picnics occurred at lunch time so those were pretty straightforward.  Most of the time we were swimming at North Beach or some other spot on Lake Champlain.  We had sandwiches, wrapped in wax paper, and my mother always packed lots of fruit.  Plums were easy to transport as were slices of watermelon.  On occasion one might find small pretzel sticks, celery sticks, carrot sticks, small gherkins, olives, deviled eggs and/or quartered radishes.  Never did we find chips or soda.  But there were usually some homemade cookies.

I am definitely an eater who likes to graze.  Once, when I was in my late 20’s, I prepared a picnic feast meant to impress.  While the food was good, it was a tremendous pain to transport.  I also discovered I wasn’t a big fan of cold fried chicken.  Add some potato salad and pie and we were ready to nap for hours.  Tasty, but far too heavy.  Grazing is more fun, items are easier to pack and transport, and a wide variety of foods can be provided.  Some things I like to pack now:  cheese cubes or Babybel cheeses, small crackers, grapes, gherkins, hummus, carrot and celery sticks, rolled slices of ham and cheese, plums, watermelon cubes, nuts, etc.  If space allows I might make some macaroni salad with tuna.  I pack that into 12 oz. plastic cups and cover with plastic wrap.

I am definitely not a gourmet picknicker, nor am I a foodie.  One could easily transport a baguette, various cheeses and some wine for a picnic.  I don’t care to grill during a picnic.  I save that for eating at home.  Also, I prefer the use of a picnic table as opposed to sitting on the ground.  The periodic car picnic is sometimes necessary and can be fun.  It works well when one is traveling and the weather is inclement or scorching hot.

Many fond memories of mine have their roots in picnicking.  Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of eating outdoors anymore because of heat and insects.  But in a perfect world, the one that exists in my head, a picnic is a lovely thing.

 

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