Planning vs. Improptu Picnicing

    ~Dining leisurely Al fresco has got to be one of life’s most pleasant experiences.  A concert on a sunny afternoon at the park…even better under the stars…lolling on a blanket enjoying a delicious meal is absolutely sublime.  Every spring, stores and magazines explode with creative and cheery bright picnic gadgets and ideas.  The layout can be as elaborate as you have the will to pack and manpower enough to load up and carry it in.  I have been to picnics where everyone was handed a sack lunch at the car and also on lavish expeditions to deeply hidden secret spots with all of us loaded down like pack mules trekking thru the Grand Canyon.   

    Some people are perfectly happy to stop at 7-11 along the way for a big gulp, slim jims and a bag of Doritos…they probably are not reading this blog.  For the rest of us, the trick is finding the delicate balance between spontaneity and providing for everyone’s...especially children's...needs in a remote setting.  If you are or want to be a impromptu picnic-er...take a moment to gather a few supplies and keep them in a festive tote.  Store the tote in the car and you are ready to ride the whimsy of the moment! 

Some things great to have on hand are:

  • a spare large plastic bowl for hand washing, berry picking, sand castle building
  • a small bowl a pet could drink from
  • a plastic shower curtain for under the blanket in case of dew or recent sprinkler activity
  • baby wipes…good for much more than baby's bottoms!
  • an large sweatshirt or two
  • heavy large trash bags...excellent instant tablecloths and raincoats!
  • a serrated knife, wrapped in an extra towel
  • small cutting board
  • bubbles...will cheer up party poopers of all ages and give you soap if you need it.
  • aspirin and allergy medication
  • flashlight
  • corkscrew/ bottle opener
  • bug repellant
  • waterproof matches 
  • a snack bag of Doritos or Fritos...the chips make excellent fire starters!

     The first picnic menu I was responsible for included sliced apples, cheddar cheese and Ritz crackers…he brought a bottle of Boones Farm and read from a book of poetry by Keats.  The apples were brown, the cheese soggy and the crackers not much more than salty dust.  But on a warm, breezy spring day, stretched out in the grass under a massive oak tree, surrounded by wild poppies and lupines…it was pure perfection.

Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art
Not in lone splendor hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like Nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priest like task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors
No, yet still steadfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft swell and fall,
Awake forever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever, or else swoon to death.

John Keats


 

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