It's been a long time since I attended an old fashioned church picnic. Our congregation used to hold picnics on the church grounds in the summer, but those ended when a new sanctuary and parking lot were built on those very grounds. We have a small secluded area carved out in the woods beside the church where we've sometimes held outdoor services and weddings, but it doesn't have a shelter house, so it wasn't a good choice for a picnic.
The site chosen for our gathering was Sycamore Trails, a park well-known in this area. It's only about 5 minutes from the church. A shelter house was secured and we met after the second service concluded yesterday. Beverages and main dishes were provided and we were asked to bring covered dishes to share. That would not have been a problem had I remembered there was going to be a picnic. When it was announced in the service yesterday, I felt a sense of panic because I hadn't prepared anything.
My spouse and I decided to attend the picnic, but we stopped at the local Kroger store first. There, we gathered paper plates, plastic utensils, and a "store-bought" pie to share. We arrived at the park in plenty of time and while I helped ready the covered dishes, my spouse took our folding chairs from the car and set them up outside the shelter house - we always have chairs in tow now, since we attend our granddaughter's soccer games on Saturday mornings.
The picnic didn't seem especially well-organized, but that was part of its charm. It didn't matter that no one seemed to be in charge. Everybody pitched in to help get the meal ready and there seemed to be enough food to feed an army - fried chicken, barbecue sandwiches, hot dogs, potato salad, baked beans, pasta salad, corn pudding, broccoli casserole, cole slaw, and more. The dessert table was full too - apple crisp, raspberry pie, brownies, chocolate chip cookies, and homemade ice cream. What a feast! Meals eaten outdoors always taste so good.
After the meal, the kids were encouraged to play relay games while adults were offered Bingo and Euchre. Someone had even thought to include prizes. All of us were curious about the "white elephant" prizes brought by some who attended, and the kids eagerly eyed the basketful of prize candy selections. Everybody seemed to have a good time. I hope we're able to do this again soon. It was a wonderful way to spend a fall afternoon with friends.
EASY PUMPKIN MUFFINS
1 Box Spice Cake Mix (any brand will work)
1 can Pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
3/4 cup water or milk
1/2 cup golden raisins (optional)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
Mix all ingredients together. Bake, according to cake box directions. Let muffins cool on cake rack. Eat and enjoy!