Memories of a Picnic in the Park

There is nothing I love more, than a beautiful sunny day at the park, with a picnic blanket, good company and some delicious food. I am very simple. The food does not have to be gourmet, but it has to be pleasing to my palate. And, I don’t have to always make it myself. Takeout is just fine. Besides, soaking up the sun’s rays, while enjoying some good food and conversation is just the medicine I need for my soul. That is at least, if I am not going solo.

Find the Right Location

I love nature. The outdoors, especially around this time of the year, brings me immense joy. I love to watch people, see birds and butterflies flying about, dogs running after sticks and balls and children playing. Although I do like to put careful thought into presentation, (a cute picnic basket, and a pretty table cloth with matching plates, cups and utensils), it doesn’t take a lot to please my taste buds. I inherited making things look pretty, from my mom. And, from my dad, we connect with both our childhood memories, especially food. To have a successful picnic, you need to have the right location, delicious food, good company and some activities to keep you and the others entertained.  

My dad often shares his childhood memories of his grandma, affectionately called DaDa by her first grandson, my dad’s brother, and that name stuck. Every summer, DaDa planned an outdoor picnic at Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield, Virginia. It was the perfect opportunity for my dad, his brother and his three cousins to bond and enjoy each other’s company.

Have Food and Entertainment for Everyone

Before the food was served, the cousins got to run around and have childhood fun, while the adults, his grandparents, and their best friends, got to hang out, talk and play cards and board games. My dad called it, “The Good Ole’ Days.” In fact, as an adult, my dad bought the same game, Pokeno, for my sister and me when we were teenagers that his grandparents used to play. I too, am my father’s child, because most likely I will create the same memories for my own kids. 

Now, what would a picnic in the park be without picnic food right? Of course, DaDa thought of everything, even the tablecloth. Well, according to my dad, he recalled, DaDa came bearing lots of mouth-watering food. She stayed up all night making the family favorites: Fried chicken, potato salad, deviled eggs, baked beans, homemade rolls and fruit punch. 

Serve a Yummy Dessert

And, what about dessert? Well, he told me that DaDa’s best friend, whom he called Aunt Bea, would make the most delicious pound cake with chocolate frosting.  And, I know he was right because when DaDa passed away years ago, Aunt Bea, dropped off one of those delicious pound cakes at my grandma’s house. I only managed to get one slice, because it magically disappeared.  I truly wish I had known Aunt Bea as an adult, because I would have her recipe in my rotation and I could share it with you. That pound cake with the homemade chocolate frosting, melted in your mouth.   

My dad looked forward to that picnic as a child into his early teens every summer. I never get tired of hearing him reminisce about “The Good Ole’ Days- enjoying Food, Family and Fun. Now, that’s a Picnic in the Park! As you can see, DaDa had a plan for their picnic. She found the perfect location, made the most delicious food and made sure everybody was well fed and entertained. I will surely implement some of her ideas in my next picnic and hopefully you can too!

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