Oh, boy, it’s picnic time!

Rick Ryckeley's picture

All the snow is gone, but the freezer in the basement is now full of snowballs.

Growing up on Flamingo Street I learned that the best time to have a snowball fight is in the middle of summer.

Now some of you may think saving a freezer full of snowballs for the July Fourth picnic is a silly thing to do, but just ask yourself one question. What’s the best way to win a snowball fight? Make sure the other guys have no snowballs, of course!

With 50 snowballs chilling in the freezer and temperatures last weekend in the mid-70s, there was only one thing to do.

No, it wasn’t going south and paying a ton of money to watch a bunch of race car drivers speeding bumper to bumper just hoping against hope that no one does something stupid and causes a big pileup. If I truly wanted to really experience that, all I have to do is drive downtown any day of the week. And I can do that for free. That is, unless gas goes back up to $5 a gallon. Then maybe that silly race thing would be cheaper.

Nope, the only thing to do on a warm spring Saturday is go on a picnic with The Wife. For years I’ve been asking her to go, and last weekend, for some strange reason as yet to be determined, she said yes.

At noon, we jumped into the car and headed out ... to the local grocery store. You got to have provisions if you’re venturing out into the woods, even for a Saturday afternoon picnic.

The Wife set off down aisle three for the traditional red and white checkered tablecloth, paper plates, plastic forks and drinking cups. I made a dash for the deli in hopes that there would be some fried chicken left.

Luckily, I was in time and loaded the cart down with huge containers of baked beans, fried chicken, coleslaw, steak fries, bug repellant – both the spray and one of those stinky candles that are advertised to smell good but don’t – and a new first aid kit.

Being a fire fighter, I’ve learned you always need to be prepared for a possible medical emergency. It was indeed a good purchase. As it turned out someone did need medical attention.

After paying $45 for our lunch, we loaded up the car and drove out to the perfect lunchtime spot: a picnic table overlooking a lake full of ducks on the edge of town.

As we set up the picnic table, The Wife had to remind me that the tablecloth goes down first, and then the food goes on top, not the other way around. The Wife, she’s really smart.

We spread out the biodegradable tablecloth, napkins, and drinking cups. The paper plates weren’t paper at all; they were bamboo. I kid you not, paper plates made out of real bamboo – they’re eco friendly and a renewable natural resource. And ducks really like them.

Halfway through the long-awaited picnic, two white ducks wallowed over and started to quack. Contrary to popular belief, looking cute and making duck sounds is not what ducks do best. It seems that on this sunny Saturday afternoon, the pair in front of us was excellent about begging for steak fries.

We’ve never see so much fighting over food since before The Boy went off to college. I was almost mortally wounded by a duck bite to the finger. Good thing I bought the medical kit.

With their bellies full, our little feathered lunchtime buddies waddled off happy in search of more steak fries, no less, from the couple at the table across the lake. An hour later we did the same, making it back to town just in time for the traditional afternoon coffee together.

Trust me; spending an entire spring afternoon with The Wife on a picnic – duck bite and all – has got to be a lot more fun than watching a bunch of cars speeding around a circle at mind-numbing decibels.

And for all you race car fans out there that I might have offended by this article, please heed this warning. I happen to know where there’s one finger hungry duck, and I’m not afraid to use him.

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Submitted by mysteryman on Sun, 03/15/2009 - 2:59pm.

One of the greatest things to come out of World War II. My pops endoctrinated me on the many universal uses of SPAM.. According to him we won the war on the stuff.. You could fry it, boil it, BBQ it, eat it raw on a cracker... YUM YUM, We all should be humbled to learn from past generations, for very shortly we my all have to call upon this wisdom, are you prepared.....BLESS

Submitted by AtHomeGym on Sun, 03/15/2009 - 3:26pm.

Funny you should mention that--I had some this pm for the first time in many years. After making the semi-annual trip to the Ft Gillem Commissary last Thursday, I was loaded up. Had it cold on a toasted English Muffin slathered with some Horseradish sauce. Quite tasty. I also like it for breakfast, just fried up lightly.

Submitted by mysteryman on Sun, 03/15/2009 - 4:27pm.

Make a great combo... Better Stock up on them 10lb cans. Think ill make me some SPAM tacos tonight to get back in the rotation...PEACE

Submitted by AtHomeGym on Sun, 03/15/2009 - 6:40pm.

Not for me--I make my SOS with half Ground Round and half Hot Bulk Sausage, plus garlic, onions, worcestershire & a little Cayenne.

Submitted by mysteryman on Sun, 03/15/2009 - 10:06pm.

Ya making me hungry.....sounds good.....

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