Enjoying Mini Picnics
The other day while I was visiting with my sister Darlene (Blackford), she reminded me of the little “in the moment” picnics we used to enjoy when we were growing up on the ranch. They were “in the moment” because we girls might have been working around at the house and then one of us might have said, ”Why don’t we take lunch down to the field and surprise Dad?”
I’m naming these occasions “mini picnics” because they didn’t take as much planning as with the usual picnics. However, believe me, they were every bit as fun (even exciting) as those that were planned out. Besides that, we had such a busy schedule of ranching duties that these mini picnics provided for fun anytime.
So perhaps Dad was plowing a section of land for reseeding. Before lunchtime we made some sandwiches, put some homemade cookies in a bag, fixed something to drink, hopped in the pickup truck and were off for the field to surprise Dad. During the lunch break we might have checked to see how ripe the berries were on nearby chokecherry bushes or have investigated an abandoned bird nest. Dad was great about sharing his knowledge of nature’s miracles, whether it be stories of the ducks that were flying overhead or a caterpillar that was crawling along in the grass. He remembered riding over the ranch property as a kid (before he ever knew that our family would own it) to go to school. What memories he shared. In later years, Mom taught at the Morapos School, and we never tired of her memories of the school, which was located just across the road from the ranch — all of these stories might have come during the mini picnic.
Sometimes, if the work was finished early in the evening, we made some sandwiches and went down to the creek bottom to fish in a beaver dam. I don’t remember if we ever caught any fish, because the creek wasn’t stocked, but that didn’t stop us from having fun. Likewise, I can remember having “spur of the moment” tea parties or perhaps even picnics under the maple tree in the front yard. Mom joined us, and she often crocheted as we played with our dolls.
Darlene remembers a time that Mom allowed us to build a little bonfire out on the gravel road next to the house so we kids could roast wieners and perhaps marshmallows. It was all done under Mom’s watchful eye, as she was indeed safety conscious. I don’t remember the occasion, but one thing is for sure — it would have been a treat! There were so many other mini picnics.
It didn’t have to be a big occasion for us to have a great time, as these memories can attest. The mini picnics didn’t cost anything, and they provided the opportunity for great family interaction. Just think — we didn’t have to use cell phones or other electronic devices. Thanks for the memories, Darlene.
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