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Mother’s Day Picnic


“Oh, make it easy,” I told my family.  “You know I like Kentucky Fried and a picnic.”  My family, like most families, wanted to get me out of the kitchen on Mother’s Day.

“Are you sure you don’t want to go out to eat somewhere?”  Husband asked.  I assured him that a picnic with just him and our children was my choice.  “So where do you want to go?”

“Surprise me!”  I said.

Our children, ages 9 and 11, teased me later that Saturday afternoon.  “You won’t believe where we’re having a picnic.  Guess.  Like 20 questions.”  Have we ever picnicked there?  No.  Have we even been there?  Not really.  Is this a place you think I want to go?  Yes!  Questions and answers all evening long.

Sunday morning, on the way to church, Daughter said, “Guess some more, Mom.  You’ll never figure it out.”  Will we have to walk a long way?  No.  Should I wear my hiking boots?  Husband and Son raised their eyebrows and glanced toward each other.  Yes.  Finally, I refused to ask another question.  It was time for clues.  A place I really liked.  I’d have to climb.  There wasn’t a picnic table.  There were lots of trees.  There weren’t any bathrooms.  We wouldn’t have to drive far.

On the way home from church, we picked up fried chicken – crispy, my favorite – and I got to choose the side dishes.  At home, we changed from church clothes into shorts and tee shirts, and I put on my hiking boots.  We gathered drinks, a roll of paper towels, a couple of folding chairs, and a quilt.  “On the way,” Husband said, “I need to stop at the house to check on something.”  ‘The house’ was the one we were building.  The first level was framed, and the carpenters had just started on the second level.

Husband opened the back of our van and grabbed something.  “I’ll be right back.  You don’t need to get out,” he told me.  Both our children followed him.  A few minutes later, Husband motioned for me.  “Come here.  I want to show you something.  The kids are upstairs where their rooms will be.”

I questioned if climbing the ladder to the second level was safe.  Had he let the kids climb up?  I clutched each rung as I carefully placed my big boots on the narrow ladder steps.  The blue sky, with a few puffy cumulus clouds, opened wide.  “Is there a floor up there?”  I asked.  Husband encouraged me to keep going.  Just as my head reached sight of the second level, my son and daughter jumped up from the quilt they had been lying on.  They stood tall; arms stretched high above their heads.  “Happy Mother’s Day!”  they shouted.

It was the perfect place for a picnic.  A plywood subfloor, with no walls or roof.  The only time I’ve ever dined among a maple tree’s high branches and looked down on the white blossoms of dogwood tree.  Our own private dining room, and I didn’t cook.



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