Summer lounging, picnics in 1940


Many of us “golden-agers” (or shall I say “tarnished brass”) can remember the peaceful and memorable wayside picnics in the pleasant, warm season of early summer.

Remember how stimulating it was to inhale the fragrance of the clover fields or to hear a quail calling to its docile mate.

Boys, girls. Nearby may have been a small brook with sounds of water tumbling over the rounded stones within its course. If a portion of the stream widened and was deep enough, boys would be anxious to take a dip before eating.

The girls would perhaps seek wood violets and a meadow to play in. A small dog that was a companion in the car jumped out to investigate here and there along the woodlot edge.

Meanwhile the men would fetch the heavily laden baskets of fine foods, build a small cook fire, spread robes around a red and white checkered table cloth, and grumble in a good-natured way of eating on the ground with the many ants and other insects.

Time to eat. Finally, after unpacking the baskets and preparing the hamburgs and hot dogs, everyone was more than ready for the delicious aromatic food.

Perhaps if it was June, an energetic boy or man would cast a line in the large swimming hole away from the swimmers and catch a nice, fat fish that was fried in the pan with several pats of butter.

Come August there would be luscious gleaming ears of fresh-picked corn, cool wedges of homegrown watermelon and heaping tins of golden plump chicken, so tender that when you set your teeth into a drumstick you’d savor the delicious juicy meat as it parted company with the bone.

Drinks, food. Around the tablecloth people sprawled, tucking their feet under them as best they could. Others took ladles from a cooled crock of homemade lemonade that had cut lemon wedges floating on the top of the delicious liquid.

The children’s sounds of laughter and glee would cease when they spotted the marvelous spread of sandwiches, deviled eggs, potato salad, cheeses, meats, oven-baked beans, and off to the side, a blanket-covered ice cream freezer and an assortment of cakes, pies, cookies and Jell-O.

Tuckered out. Later, after an afternoon of stuffing themselves, the adults talked and took naps and the children never tired out.

When evening arrived and the full moon rose across the meadow and the fireflies began their wavering dance and shine, the picnickers began to pack up and head homeward. Sometimes they’d join in singing soft, pleasant songs of country and peaceful memories or hopes, and they would be content with the day and the whole world.

Abundant shine. With the early summer came a special liveliness in receptive people, a feeling that life is luxury. The air is full of pleasant aromas and sounds, plus abundant sunshine, the song of birds and the murmur of a soft breeze in the newly green leaves.

Meadows gleam with golden butter cups and a person can almost see the plants growing daily with buds on bushes and trees bursting with hope of a fruitful season.

The feeling of the sun’s warmth and beaming glow seems to give a call for all God’s earthly blessings to show forth a renewed vigor and thanks.

The endless grass, the endless leaves, the immense strength of the oaks and other majestic trees expand with gratitude for God’s freely given blessing to the stand of trees and all of his many blessings and grace.


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