An envisioning . . . . . .1970 and a picnic on Catalina Island.

Oh to be there.

California on a spring day and a picnic with all mother’s family, some known for years and some never met. Missionaries overseas somewhere in Africa and not back until last year.

But here now and with a lifetime’s worth of memories and pictures to share. Pictures from every place any of them have ever been. Such a heap of scrapbooks that they reach as high as the biggest boulder the littlest cousins can climb up on and swing their legs.

Plaid blankets covering half the meadow in a tartan no one in Scotland would recognize. Linen napkins with monograms barely recalled and silver cups that were someone’s wedding present.

Someone frowning but that to be ignored. Someone’s friend, he must be or some sort of gate crasher. A normal thing to learn ancestors’ names by decoding their initials from linens and silver. How else to know. Must be from one of those families where no one gets a dinner service from anyone when they marry, let alone one ordered from back east.

The little ones to corral and a seat taken again. Picnic baskets opened up. Someone handing things out. Abercrombie and Fitch, they must be. Everything nestled in its spot with the crisscrossed little straps to keep the plates from breaking. Like a jewelry box with everything in its own compartment but in red leather, not velvet.

A treat . . . . everyone with those metal and plastic things with ice cubes dumped in . . . .no elegance at all . . . .the old days better  . . . even if they only return for half a day . . .

Abercrombie and Fitch picnic basket.
Abercrombie and Fitch picnic basket. ca.1930. Made in England with 41 pieces. Vintage. Image: © Picnic basket is old enough to be in the public domain.

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