Sunday, June 16, 2013
Picnic Suppers Under the Pine Trees
On warm, summer days at supper time when growing up in the country with those four houses full of relatives all in a row, each family would bring whatever they'd prepared to eat together under my aunt's pine trees in her backyard. It became a smorgasbord of hot and cold dishes with all the trimmings. Back then it was the food that I thought about-potato salads, macaroni salads, baked beans, tossed salads, fruit salads, of course hots and hams and all the trimmings plus an assortment of chips. I don't remember many desserts-except for strawberry shortcake with real dumplings made soggy by berry juice and home-made whipped cream smothering the bowl. Of course it all tasted even better because we were eating outside. After everyone was finished, the younger ones would sometimes play baseball as the others sat around and talked and family dogs would see what they could find in the grass or get that look on their face so someone would feed them leftovers.There was no rush to pick up. No cell phones ringing. No one looking down-more interested in texting outer space than enjoying what was all around that backyard-family taking time.
No matter what my father was doing he was dressed up-sometimes a little more so than other times-even when sitting and eating his picnic supper as shown in this photo. Back then he was always on call. Funeral Directors served as rescue squads 24-hours a day besides their regular hours-which were never regular as dying still doesn't happen just between 8-5.When he was with the rest of us, he thoroughly enjoyed it. All the adults got along. They helped each other. They appreciated each other. I think that was due to my grandmother (sitting near my father)-a kind, funny, and very strong woman who kept us all in line just by her presence-and cooking!
I now realize those evening suppers in the summertime under the pine trees had nothing to do with the food but were all about the moment-families gathering at the end of a day.