Posted tagged ‘Picnic basket’

“He’s too nervous to kill himself. He wears his seat belt in a drive-in movie.”

July 30, 2013

If I were Mother Nature, today would be among my finest creations. The sun is brilliant, the sky a dark blue, a slight breeze rustles the leaves and the air is clear and comfortable. Earlier, I was on the deck reading my papers and it took such a long time. I kept stopping to watch the birds at the feeders and Gracie run through the yard with her deflated basketball in her mouth. She looked joyful. almost prancing, playing in the coolness of the morning. She came on the deck and sat down beside me. I read the papers and absent-mindedly patted Gracie the whole time.

Gracie and I are going to the dump later. The trash is out by the car waiting to be loaded. Poor Gracie hasn’t been riding much as it has been too hot for her to be left while I did errands, but I always take her with me to the dump.

Wellfleet still has a drive-in movie theater. Dennis used to, but it was demolished years ago. That was my favorite of all the drive-ins. It was small and it was surrounded by trees. It was like being in your own backyard. Bugs were plentiful, but you loaded up on mosquito spray before you went so they pretty much left you alone. We used to pack a picnic basket, a tradition my father started. When I was a kid, we brought our own snacks to the drive-in as the ones in the refreshment stand were so expensive. Our adult picnic basket was a bit more elaborate. We filled thermos bottles with drinks, alcoholic drinks, and had crackers and cheese and fancy hors d’oeuvres. We’d put out our lawn chairs and sit by the speaker. We always used glasses, never plastic, and real forks and knives; however, I do admit we used paper napkins.

I thought it was a tragedy when they closed that drive-in, but land had become more valuable than a screen, speakers and some parking spots; however, most of that land remains untouched. Some of it became part of a vegetable farm, but that’s gone too. Only the shed where they sold their produce is still there but it is falling apart, a victim of the weather. Most people don’t know that behind a section of trees on a pretty well-traveled road is an open spot which used to be the drive-in. I think of it every time I go by those trees and I sigh a bit for what’s now gone.

‘I don’t know why, but the meals we have on picnics always taste so much nicer than the ones we have indoors,’ said George.”

May 14, 2013

Although it is only a bit after 10, I have already had a busy morning in contrast to yesterday’s day of sloth. I woke up at 6:30 to the sound of raindrops, came downstairs, went to get the papers then read both of them. When I was finished, I went upstairs and  changed my bed. As I unfurled the bottom sheet, a sock flew out of the corner, the missing sock to one of the few pairs I have without holes. I never throw socks away. I always figure the shoe hides the holes. I then finished the bed, got dressed and left for my 9 o’clock library board meeting. Our biggest agenda item was choosing between plastic or wood for planting tubs and between Alberta Spruce and some other bush with a Japanese sounding name. We went wooden and the bush with a Japanese sounding name. I tried to Google the name of the bush and put into Google Odd Bush with Japanese sounding name, but George W. kept appearing. That gave me a bit of a chuckle. My next stops were the post office and the pharmacy. My last stop was voting in the town election. The big race is for selectman, three running for two spots. There were also two requests for tax overrides and a non-binding question as to whether the nuclear plant in Plymouth should be closed. People are a bit edgy that the evacuation route means driving by the plant. While I was driving all over town doing errands, the sun came out and the sky turned a light blue. It is, however, still a bit cold, only in the low 50’s. My heat came on this morning.

When I was a kid, we never went on a picnic just for the sake of a picnic. We’d eat outside sitting on the back steps which is, I suppose, a cousin to the picnic; however, I do remember stopping at rest areas and eating at picnic benches but only on long rides, usually to somewhere for vacation. We ate at the beach, but it was the water and the sand which drew us, not a picnic. My mother had a picnic basket and a red Tartan jug. She made great sandwiches, and there were usually chips and Oreos.

When I was in Ghana, we went on picnics just for the fun of a picnic. We’d bring the small charcoal burner, some hot dogs from a can or from the meat factory that used to be in Bolga, bread, chopped tomatoes and onions and probably something for dessert though I don’t remember what. I’m leaning toward the sweet donuts or the toasted coconut balls. We’d load up then ride our motorcycles a bit into the bush. Once I remember being near Tonga and another time paying guys to haul our bikes across a small pond. We’d sit on a blanket, enjoy our lunch and watch Ghana. I loved those picnics.

Here on the cape we used to have picnics on a hill overlooking the Grist Mill. We’d climb and complain about it as we carried the basket of goodies and the drinks. I remember being so glad to reach the top and hurrying to spread out the blanket so I could collapse. We’d stay for hours.

We’d bring picnics to Sunday night band concerts every week. We all took turns bringing the appetizer, the dinner or the dessert and then we’d share. Another time we had a picnic before a town meeting. Lots of people did. We all sat about the baseball field or the bleachers enjoying dinner from a basket. The meeting was with both towns about the school budget and was on the high school football field. The chairs were under a tent and I thought it had a bit of the circus about it. A group of musicians played before the meeting and the snack bar was open. That was a long time ago.

I think it’s time to bring back picnics and Tartan jugs.

Don’t grow up too quickly, lest you forget how much you love the beach.”

July 8, 2012

We’re still in a heat wave of sorts. It’s not as hellish as the south or the mid-west, but it is far too hot for us this time of year. I’m still inside where it’s cool. Later, though, I’ll have to venture out as I still need a few things for tonight.

Saturday night was drive-in movie night. We, of course, always wore our pajamas. I remember when I was around 5 or 6 and I left the car by myself to go the bathroom telling my parents I’d be fine. I found the bathroom but couldn’t find our car afterwards. I went up and down the rows getting more and more panicky. Finally I went to the concession stand. They announced me over the car speakers, and my dad came and rescued me. I was still young enough to feel relieved instead of embarrassed. My dad was an impatient man. The idea of waiting in a long line to exit the drive-in was totally unappealing so he’d get a head start on the traffic. We left before the movie was over. My father guessed at the end time, but I have no idea how close his guesses were. I just know I watched a silent movie as we left the drive-in.

By this time most Sundays, my dad would have packed up the car for the beach. That meant the tartan cooler, the picnic basket, the blanket, towels and shirts for sun protection. We didn’t have any sunscreen back then except for my mother who’d make us cover up before we got too burned. My mother was fastidious about keeping the sand off the blanket. She’d let us sit down as long as our feet were stretched out across the sand. During the day she was known to move everything off the blanket a few times so she could shake the sand off it because that blanket was where my mother perched the whole day except maybe for a walk on the beach in the afternoon with my sisters who wanted to look for shells, and on really hot days when she’d sometimes tip her toes into the ocean, but that was always as far in as she dared. We were the water bugs.

My dad worked a long week and often didn’t make it home for dinner. On summer Saturday mornings, he did errands and household chores like mowing the lawn, but the rest of the weekend he spent with us. Even though I never saw the movies end, I loved going to the drive-in and nothing was better than Sunday at the beach.

“There’s an unseen force which lets birds know when you’ve just washed your car.”

July 24, 2011

The day is dark and perfectly still. The leaves are barely moving. I only hear birds. It rained this morning for a while, a short while. Before I went to breakfast, I turned off the AC and opened the windows even though today will be in the 80’s. Gracie was tired of being stuck in the house, and I missed the sounds of the street and my little world on the deck. Later, when it hits the 80’s, I may have to turn on the AC again. Starting tomorrow and for the next few days, we’ll have a summer reprieve. Temperatures will be in the 70’s.

My friend Glenn sent me pictures of last January’s snowstorm. His house and car are covered in snow, and his street has yet to be plowed. I remember that storm, and I remember wishing for summer.

I’ve come to the conclusion that people need something to gripe about, even the happiest among us. It is just the nature of the beast. Though I count myself among the latter, the happy ones, I’ve been complaining about the heat and humidity, the traffic and the gawking tourists who slow down all that traffic. I figure venting by filling the air with a few blue words is my way of thwarting grumpiness.

Sunday was usually the day we went to the beach. On Saturday my dad did his house chores, mostly the yard, so it was his day to work around the house. Sunday we’d load up the car. The picnic basket, the tartan cooler, assorted towels, the beach blanket, shirts to ward off sunburn, four kids and my parents were piled into the car, the car without air-conditioning. All four windows would be opened, but the air always felt hot, and I was prone to car sickness. The two windows by the backseat could only go down halfway so that added to the misery. Once I threw up out the window, and my father thought it had started to rain. My poor sister sat in the middle between my brother and me, but we’d still fight over sides. I’d complain his foot was on my side and he’d yell back that it wasn’t. Meanwhile, with his eyes on the road, my father would swing his arm back and forth over the front seat hoping to hit one of us. He never did. The threats were next, ” Keep this up and we’re going home.” That generally quieted us down as we all loved the beach.

My favorite beach story, which I know I’ve told here before, merits retelling. It has become a family favorite repeated often when we’re together. My brother and I were tossing rocks into the water, and my mother told us to stop. We did, but a few minutes later she started yelling at us, “I told you to stop and now which one of you has hit me on the head?” We were dumbfounded as we had actually listened to her and stopped throwing rocks. We ran over and found a seagull had hit my mother dead center in the head. We told her, and she started gagging (my mother was a gagger, even when changing our diapers) as she ran to the water screaming for us to help wash it out of her hair. We did, but we laughed quietly the whole time. Only our shaking shoulders gave us away.