When our children were small, and our bank accounts smaller, we would look at each other, laugh, and say “At least we can picnic!”
And picnic we did. On lawns and in front yards, at rivers and on beaches, in play grounds and even indoors – there was always time for a picnic.
Picnics have captured a corner of my heart. Just the mention of them makes me smile. I love the packing and planning. I love deciding on a spot. I love picnics.
In my childhood, picnics took place on the banks of dusty canals on the outskirts of Ratodero, Larkana and Shikarpur. We would find spots beside the desert brush of Sindh, lay out a quilt and unpack food fit for palaces and kingdoms.
I have memories of egg salad spread between two slices of my mom’s home made bread, home canned pickles adding just the right crunch. There was often chocolate cake for dessert — a depression-era recipe called Wacky cake that takes no eggs, no butter, and no milk. It was a never fail recipe in a place where some ingredients were difficult to find, the tastes even more difficult to replicate.
Sometimes, while traveling, my dad would buy curry and chapatis at a local truck stop. We would sit, grease dripping down our chins, our eyes watering and noses sniffling from the pungent spices. With tummies filled we would pile into the car and head off on our journey.
As an adult, picnics have taken place at the base of the Great Pyramid and on huge wooden sail boats called feluccas; in back yards and on play grounds. Wherever we have lived we have found our favorite spot for picnics.
In recent years, we have picnicked in a place called Millbrook Meadow; a beautiful park with trees stretching up to the sky, providing shade and comfort. This meadow is a hidden gem in Rockport. While others crowd into the tiny beach across the street, we prefer the meadow where there is ample space to spread out. Out come sandwiches or fried chicken, potato salad or chips, and green or red grapes that pop in our mouths.
At times, our picnics have become more sophisticated with wine, special cheeses, olives, and fruit bites. Despite the sophistication, they retain the essential ingredients of relaxation and joy.
Picnics are multicultural and ageless. I have seen families that are Pakistani, Iraqi, Egyptian, Indian, Mexican, Turkish and so many more gather in all corners of the globe to picnic. Wherever they take place, picnics bring with them a certain magic and child-like fun.
In this life journey, picnics are a chance to forget the worries of daily life and take back lost moments.
So, next time life gets complicated – go on a picnic.