everyone should own a picnic basket.
ours was a wedding gift…a bold and confident leap for the giver…to steer from the obligatory registry list, but indeed a well-appreciated leap. a treasured leap.
its sturdy woven wicker is padded with good insulation. it has hidden straps for its own little collection of plastic cups and plates. and, best of all…it fastens close with thick leather belts and gold buckles–and not the fake kind that look like buckles but really are just pointless decoys hiding easy snaps. they’re real buckles.
our treasured picnic basket stands out among all those gifts and, although it only has two and a half years of beach and backyard picnics to its name, i have great expectations for it and the places it will go. i look forward to the day of tarnished buckles and worn leather…broken weave and scuffed and weathered wicker. i look forward to the day the insulation is seared with the scent of fried chicken and potato chips. because that means many a’ memories…many a’ sunset picnics. many a’ impromtu backyard snacks-on-a-blanket. and, everyone knows…everything tastes better in a picnic basket. even frito lay and lunchables gain a bit of authenticity if they are pulled from an old picnic basket…and magically transformed into something good. something wholesome. maybe even something a bit old-fashioned.
today it was tunafish sandwiches layered with crisp claussen pickles and wrapped and twisted in wax paper. blood-red radishes. ripe peaches. and cold thin mints. all packed up in our real picnic basket and packed into the wagon along with a thick blanket, my camera and two happy girls. we wheeled over sidewalk cracks and dry pavement for two blocks until we reached the big tree next to the still waters of one of our little neighborhood lakes.
and this is what greeted us:
my heart did a little leap as i scolded myself for not doing this more often.
it was beautiful. and quiet. and as i smoothed out the folds in our blanket and unwrapped our lunch treats, i was calmed by the sight of it all and the way it sort of hypnotized the girls. the entire scene–us sitting there on the blanket, unfolding wax paper, eating real food, watching a sweeping egret, listening to sweet little giggles, kicking off our sandles to feel nature’s own blanket of matted dried pine needles and the stiff florida turf we’ve finally become accustomed to. it was storybook.
…and then it was back in the wagon for the trip home.
oh, i love days like this.