Muse

A Picnic They’re Still Talking About

My husband’s family gathered in Crystal Falls, MI and Green Bay, WI this weekend to celebrate the life of a remarkable woman, his Aunt Jean.  There was story-sharing and remembering–and laughter–as Aunt Joyce, Uncle Tom, and all five nieces and nephews present shared Aunt Jean stories.

And then someone asked for the Aunt Joyce and Uncle Tom story.

The picnic

Both lived in Rochester, Minnesota at the time.  Some mutual friends deciding they should meet.  So Uncle Tom called this woman he didn’t know and a coffee date was arranged.  It went well, and they continued to see each other.

Both had a circle of friends, most of who didn’t know each other.  Aunt Joyce decided to plan a picnic and invite all of them–Tom’s friends and hers.  She planned and prepared the food–and a birds and wild flowers scavenger hunt.  Field guides and lists for both birds and wild flowers were provided, and people who didn’t know each other were partnered up.

We laughed as both Tom and Joyce relayed parts of their story, and how those friends still mention that picnic.  What a brilliant way for strangers to connect, converse, and collaborate.  Introducing one’s friends to one another is a magical thing.  Having someone in common, and a common project, and a picnic in a park; it’s where stories begin.

Synchronicity … today, from columnist Carolyn Hax:

Maybe I’m just getting old and uncrabby, but I’m feeling more sympathy for party-throwers these days, not less.  We humans need to gather.  Institutions don’t pull us in as they used to.  It takes work to host, and guests are less well-versed than ever in the etiquette of being a guest.  (Carolyn Hax column, April 30, 2017)

I love Carolyn Hax and I love Aunt Joyce.  We need reasons to gather and those whose gift is hospitality.  When they’re still talking about a summer picnic some fifty-plus years later, that’s someone who made a difference.

I love my Michael and this family I married into.  There is much love and laughter, kindness, and gatherings around pizza-making and paninis.  I appreciate these moments, because I know how precious they are.

Life is moments, one day at a time; here today, to be savored. – Anne

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