Saturday, March 16, 2013

Why I Hate Picnics

As a kid I loved picnics. It was a chance
to run free and no worries about getting
dirty because in this one instance, it was
alright with mom.

My family loved picnics. At least that's what I grew up thinking because we had so many of them. Sometimes it was just our little family headed off to Carlton Lake or Nearstrand Woods, both within spitting distance of the rural Minnesota community where I grew up. Many times it was a combined family function, what with mom's three sisters and all their offspring--plus gram and gramps--crowded around the many tables set on the grassy lawn just outside the back door of Aunt Aimee's big white farmhouse. There were other times, too, when my folks took we three girls off to visit a distant relative and rather than eating at a restaurant along the way, we'd stop at a park and mom pulled all manner of good things to eat out of our car's trunk.

Our small Methodist church had a lot
of picnics, usually right after church. I thought
nothing of picnicking in my Sunday clothes. I'm the
tallest of the two kids.
Picnics were fun. They were filled with the sights of sounds of nature. They often included our abundant cousins who were like brothers and sisters to us because we saw one another so often. The picnics were casual and easy because all we three girls had to do was sit on the proffered chair, bench, or blanket, eat ourselves into oblivion and then play tag or go for a swim or anything else we could think to do before it was time to pack up and head home.

Hubby is reclining on the grass; all
others are either immediate family or
And then I grew up. And got married. And it didn't help that my husband came from the biggest picnicking family I've ever known. Every single weekend, off to a local park, sit on the grass, converse with extended family, and do the same things everyone does at a picnic--gab and eat.

It was during those first married years that the awful truth hit me. Someone had to do all the planning, the cooking, then pack the food as well as dishes, utensils, blanket, napkins, drinks, and make sure there was ice for the cooler. That someone was always me. I was in my early twenties when I realized that picnics were fun only for kids and men--because they had to do nothing but eat and laze around a horseshoe pit or the playground while all the ladies scraped leftovers into a garbage bag, repacked the dishes, now dirty, and hauled all of that, plus the leftovers, home so they could be either washed or put away.

Odd that I despise picnics yet
absolutely adore camping. To me
they are not on the same plane.

I had grown to hate picnics. Before I'd been married many years, I'd flatly refused to go on them. I didn't mind the family getting together in a park or the beach or even some lovely wooded area,  just as long as food wasn't involved. And even though my much-loved hubby still thought picnics were great fun, I readily agreed to attend them only as long as he did every bit of shopping, prepping, cooking, cleaning up, etc. Do I have to tell you that family picnics quickly disappeared from our life?

I thought that was a good thing. I still do.


  1. Easy work-around: Pack a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter and another of jam, a package of plastic knives and some paper plates, some fruit and/or pre-bagged baby carrots, and maybe a bag of Oreos or something. For drinks, bring either cans of pop, or bottled water with single packets of drink crystals in a few different flavours, so people can have whatever flavour of drink they want. Everyone assembles their own sandwich at the park, and the used plastic knives and paper plates get thrown out.

  2. Wait a sec.....better yet, why not just do a picnic of take-out food?