by Lois Bylund
What makes a picnic a picnic? Is it going to the park or countryside where you sit on a blanket smelling the crisp clean air, and eating the food you packed in your basket? Or is it a backyard barbecue where you invite friends over to grill outdoors and eat at the patio table on your deck?
I think it’s both and more. Has the idea of picnics changed over the years? Not only where they are held, but what kind of activities are included. My family has been holding a picnic/barbecue ever since I can remember. In the beginning, we went to the park on a Sunday afternoon in June to grill hotdogs. Everybody who came would bring a dish to share. The kids would hang out on the playground equipment or play softball or volleyball. I remember my mom would bring a large wicker basket to the park. It had leather handles and was filled with reusable plastic dishes, cups and matching silverware. As I got older, our picnic/barbecue turned into a family reunion weekend in July to include a worship service, DJ music and dancing, and an awesome fireworks display. One year we actually had a piano brought in to the park.
Now our picnic/worship service is held at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Embden, N.D., the same Lutheran church our family has attended for more than 80 years. Family members take care of the worship service, which includes a message and special singing by cousins. After worship, we begin our potluck lunch. This year we are celebrating our 40th family reunion.
Even with all the changes we made over the years, one thing remains the same–our love for family and for our Lord and Savior.
In what ways have picnics changed for you? Do you have a picnic memory to share?
Lois Bylund serves on the churchwide executive board. She lives in Moorhead, Minn., and is a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in that city.
Photo by Steven Depolo, used with permission