Are Picnics Becoming History?

Whatever happened to picnics? Have they gone out of style? Are they too much trouble? Is a fine summer afternoon parked in front of the television or with smartphone in hand more appealing? Or is there some angle of political incorrectness that my friends haven’t had the heart to tell me about?

You don’t see many people enjoying picnics, these days. Drive through Oglebay Park some Saturday or Sunday and chances are, you’ll see plenty of really nice picnic spots, complete with tables and sometimes those small grills, unoccupied.

It’s a puzzle to me, though, in honesty, I have to admit it’s been a long time since I went picnicking.

Remember those good old days?

You and the family, or perhaps you and some friends, fried some chicken, made some potato salad and corn on the cob, mixed up some lemonade and iced tea and got in the car. Oh, and don’t forget the watermelon.

The menu, incidentally, may be part of the problem. Picnics need to be simple and easy. Ignore those internet recipes for food (?) such as guacasalsa (avocadoes mashed into salsa) and seaweed. That’s not a picnic.

You headed for a park (remember roadside parks with picnic tables?), nearby or perhaps an hour or two away.

Maybe you found a site with one of those old, splintered wooden picnic tables, or perhaps you just chose a grassy spot and spread an old sheet out on the ground.

Somehow, the food tasted better than if you had just spread it out on the kitchen table at home. That may have had something to do with the fresh air.

If you didn’t mind a bit of extra work, you may have brought along some hot dogs and hamburgers to be cooked over a charcoal grill (there are veggie dogs and burgers, for the health conscious).

You enjoyed watermelon the way it was meant to be eaten, in big slices.

Then you and the kids went for a walk in the woods or, sometimes, set up a net and played some volleyball or badminton. If you had kids with you, they learned to stay away from poison ivy and, if the season was right, how good wild blackberries are. Perhaps you took a dip in a nearby pool.

Remember how relaxed you were by the time you had to pack everything up and pile back in the car to go home?

Just being outside for a few hours — with the picnic being the icing on the cake — really felt good, didn’t it?

So why don’t we do it more often?

Myer can be reached at: mmyer@theintelligencer.net.

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