Thursday, February 21, 2008

Longing for picnics while watching snowfall

I found myself curled up on our big recliner this morning, reading this book while watching (another) snowfall outside. It really was quite pretty as the snow accumulated on our deck and in the trees. This view gives us the illusion of living in the mountains. I'm not certain exactly what causes it but I think it is the way the very tall evergreen trees show up on the other side of our neighbor's property.

I purchased this beautiful book on clearance at Tuesday Morning recently (there are quite a few available at Amazon for a great price, this publisher is famous for marking down books). I was there checking to see if they had any quilts for our bedroom... cheap... (they didn't). However, I always have to look around just a bit when time permits. I was thrilled to find this book in their cookbook section. I've checked it out of the library a few times. Like his other book, it is full of gorgeous pictures and regional recipes. By the time I had to return to morning housework, a few pages already had been bookmarked with a promise to return to them soon.

I love picnics and some of my fondest memories of my children include our picnic times. I have a vintage picnic basket which we used most often. It was kept stocked with a favorite tablecloth and paper/plastic supplies. The tablecloth was the only picnic item the romantic side of me allowed. Otherwise, practicality won out. :)

Sometimes our picnics were planned but quite often they were spur of the moment. Neither Stephanie or I have the skin type (think Snow White with black hair and very pale complexion!) that permits being out in full sun very long. Christopher is more like his paternal grandmother, who could tan just spending a few minutes in her garden. So our favorite picnic days were most often in Spring and Autumn.

That is when the kid's were both at home. Having twelve years between them means memories with Stephanie as a child in Holland (Michigan) and picnics with both when she was in high school and those rare college days she could take part.

Their dad would join us once in awhile when neither work hours nor allergies would get in the way. He has never been one for outdoor eating, unless it is a hot dog at his favorite coney dog place. Then he overlooks heat, bugs, and allergens for a "dog and root beer". I miss picnics since Christopher developed more of his dad's allergies and has to be quite careful out of doors. Long past are the days when we would picnic and then hike trails together (here at home and when we lived in Michigan the second time).

I've been accused of enjoying the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling because it gave me permission to buy books (Who, me?) However, I also loved... loved... loved... the nature studies of our elementary and junior high school years when we enjoyed many days of picnics and trails. When it was just the two of us, our picnic may have included Happy Meals.

How important it is for us to take hold of our time and make memories when possible. Stephanie called yesterday and asked for a particular picture, one of her dad and I leaning up against our turquoise car the summer he finished his Master's degree, her dad with his perm, and me pregnant for either Matthew or her (it was her). I did find a similar picture taken that day only that one had my mother standing with us.

As I was searching and looking through albums, it suddenly struck me that most of these faces are no longer with us. Our parents, four of my brothers and sisters, aunts, my mother-in-law's friends... our beloved Storm Girl. Times goes so fast and how we do not appreciate those days when they are with us.

Among all the pictures there were some I'd forgotten about... a picture of my husband in Viet Nam, another of our group of friends when he was in graduate school at the University, a precious picture of him holding a very young Storm Girl (which immediately was put in a place of honor at his desk in the office), a few others when the kids were little. He remarked at how good looking we used to be. I overlooked that USED TO BE remark. :)

I think while Christopher is still living at home, I just may have to surprise him this Spring by packing a picnic on a day he has only early morning and late afternoon classes. I'll wait until the flowers are blooming in the City Park. Perhaps if I stop to buy coney dogs, his dad will join us. In the meantime, I'll continue watching snow (and more snow). Sometimes there can be too much of a good thing.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a lovely book. I just ordered a copy. The same author did A Return to Sunday Dinner which I already have. Since you mention his "other" book, I assume you already know about it. The only trouble with picnics is that they're always in hot weather with all of the little crawling and flying bugs. But, I'm looking forward to an armchair picnic when I get my copy of the book.

Suze said...

I also remember visits to favorite aunts and uncles, as well as grandparents when I was a child - and they are all gone now. My mother has one sister left.

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Picnics...some of my best memories are of picnics, too. I think that because of their impromptu nature, they are delightful for children of all ages. I must get myself a picnic basket.

This latest snowstorm is slipping off south of me...glad that you are still able to enjoy it. ;>

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Oh, meant to say "thank you" that, even though you've had to remove some blog spam, you've kept it easy to comment here. I appreciate that!

Anonymous said...

Hi Brenda,
Haven't heard from you in a long while. Wanted to make sure you were ok.

Anonymous said...

What wonderful memories you have. It all goes by to fast. I enjoyed reading your blog.