We’ve decided duo blogging isn’t easy. So after our September kickoff we will probably individually blog every other month. But since in late September we say goodbye to summer, we discussed what that really means. In some places it means goodbye to sun and to the freedom lazy days without school brings. Many people consider Labor Day the last hurrah for barbecues, picnics and serving hotdogs with potato salad. How many of you bring summer inside during fall and winter? Do you stick a hibachi in the fireplace, or huddle around a fire pit in the snow? Who among you have picnicked in your living room?
MURIEL—With our iffy weather in Oregon, Ron and I have never barbequed very much. We’ve picnicked a lot, and had a VW bus with the middle seat taken out so we could put in a table. That allowed us to move the picnic inside if the weather turned on us. The table was fairly good sized and was covered with a wipe-off map of the United States. Kept us all occupied and gave us a lot to talk about over lunch. When our neighbors were here last week for pizza and salad, we had such a good time that we vowed we’d be there in December in our parkas and mittens. Sunshine isn’t essential to fun. What do you think?
ROZ--I was blessed to have a husband who loved barbecue no matter the weather. We also liked to picnic with friends rain or shine. That served us well when we lived in Oregon and Washington State. When it came to picnics it got to be a huge laugh. Every time we planned a picnic with 2 particular sets of friends, we’d arrive at our chosen spot, only to have a storm blow up. It got to the point we didn’t say the word, picnic. One would call and say, “What do you have that you could toss together for a lunch?” And then if you said: “hot dogs and salad”, the other would say, “Meet you in an hour at X park. I can’t you how many photos I have of us hunkered down at a rain-swept picnic table. But what fun!
MURIEL--When I was a child on the coast of Massachusetts, the favorite summer event was a clambake on the beach. My father and his friends would dig a large hole, line it with stones, pile wood on top and let it burn until the stones were red hot. They’d place a cinder block on each corner to anchor the barbecue grate. Then they’d pile on the food – a layer of seaweed first, then potatoes, seaweed, corn, seaweed, Portuguese sausage, seaweed, clams, and a final layer of seaweed. They’d cover the hole with a length of burlap dipped in seawater. It cooked about an hour until the clam shells opened and the potatoes were done. I can’t tell you what that tasted like when you were sitting in the sand, watching the waved break, surrounded by friends. It was magic. In the winter, we cooked the same ingredients in a pot on the stove. What it lacked in atmosphere was made up for with friendship and laughter.
ROZ—A clambake sounds like such fun. Something you could enjoy in sunshine or the misty seaside weather when fall creeps in. Muriel’s note made me remember one of our most fun picnics. Four of us took wine and bread and cheese into the mountains beyond Bend, Oregon on snowmobiles. When we stopped for lunch the sky was blue, the air so cold you could see every breath. The wine and laughs with good company warmed us.
Let’s hear some of your most memorable summer, fall, or winter barbecues or picnics.