My mother-in-law Maureen Murphy loved picnic tables and picnics in general. She had a picnic table at her house in Milford and her family's summer home at Martha's Vineyard. One summer at the Vineyard was so hot that we all spent a fair amount of time just sitting at a gray picnic table off to the side of the house, "sweating sitting still" as MoMo would say. She also turned every summer lunch into picnic time, preparing sandwiches, tucking them into plastic bags and carting them off to the beach. I quickly squashed that tradition, believing it made no sense to do all that packing and carting when I would tear into my sandwich as soon as I got to the beach. But some members of my husband's family have kept the tradition alive.
But back to the picnic tables. I must have passed them a dozen times and thought I really should stop and eat there. Yesterday, I finally got my wish. I had picked up sandwiches for me and my son and was heading home. As I approached the picnic tables, I pulled into the gravel parking lot and turned off the car. My son said he would be happy to eat in the car, but I asked if he'd join me at a table. "Probably a lot of flies out there Mom," he said.
I gave him the option of staying in the car, but I walked over to one of the tables and sat down. The pond was very still, and I marveled at the beautiful wildflowers lining its bank and the dragonflies looping over the surface. For a minute, I flashed back to the beautiful pond at my alma mater, Wheaton College in Norton, Mass. That pond was my favorite part of a very pretty campus. A few minutes later, my son joined me and finished up his sandwich. He then began tossing rocks into the pond, reminding me of when he was a very little boy.
It wasn't a big deal, but that impromptu little picnic made my day.