We had this summer farm house in Maine, and our Mom would let us each invite a friend. By the time my parents bought the farm (not that way…) there were six of us still at home. My older sisters were and still are gorgeous, and so the math came out to roughly six children plus six friends, plus the boys who hitch-hiked to Maine to be near my sisters. That equaled a whole lot of angst.
Good thing our Mom had been a First Lieutenant during World War II, and it was no wonder she developed the stream-lined picnic: grab the Igloo water cooler, fill it with Kool-Aid, round the kids up, herd them into the Suburban, stop at Eddie’s Market, pick up a loaf of bread, a jar of Peter Pan creamy peanut butter “because-that-is-what-Anne-likes”, a jar of Fluff, maybe a bag of chips, and then drive to a beach.
We had our favorite beaches: Redmond Beach where you had to hike a mile down to the shore, the beach with the shipwrecked sailboat, The Tempest, the beach at the wildlife preserve, and even the beach at the lake where we swam every day.
Almost every day ended at the lake. We went every day, even in the rain. The only weather that kept us out of the lake was lightning storms. Thunder was fine, and downpours were great.
Looking back, those picnic days must have been days when our mom just couldn’t take us in our natural habitat anymore. At the beach we all made our own sandwiches, threw out our mess ourselves, and then swam in the ocean or climbed on rocks for a couple of hours before we went swimming at the lake.
Anything to keep us out of the house and out of the kitchen.