The Summer Picnic

by Mary Johnson, Director, All Things Bright & Beautiful and Children's Ministries

The first usage of the word "picnic" is traced to the 1692 edition of Tony Willis', Origines de la Langue Francaise, which mentions pique-nique. The term was used to describe a group of people dining in a restaurant who brought their own wine. The word picnic first appeared in English in a letter of the Lord Chesterfield, who associates it with card-playing, drinking and conversation.

Where ever the word originated, it is certainly a word that connotes a fun experience - whether shared with a few or celebrated with many as we experienced at our Holy Comforter parish picnic.

My favorite memories of picnics growing up are the ones we had at Eagle Point Park in Dubuque. It is a magnificent setting on the high bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River. Most of the picnics were with our immediate family and a few neighborhood families. We would also have the State Street picnic at Eagle Pont park when nearly every family on the block came. The pavilion would be reserved and somewhere between the grilling and conversation there were baseball games and Euchre tournaments. The trip to the park always included walking over the bluff to watch the river barges make their way through the lock and dam and running to the gold fish pond to feed the enormous fish with crackers or bread. We certainly had cameras "back then" to capture life's major events but we didn't need them at the park. We were much too busy enjoying the day to think about capturing it on film. The vivid images in my memory are abundant and I am grateful for them. The images I am showing here are from a website for the park.

So, as you are out this summer enjoying family picnics at whatever your favorite spot, I hope you take more time to be in the moment rather than trying to capture it for social media posts. I promise you, the sights and sounds are more vivid in your memory than in a two-dimensional image.