Sunday evening we had our annual Fall Freeze Picnic.
We held it a little early this year because Miss Sassy requested it happen before she left to serve her LDS mission. The Fall Freeze Picnic came into being when Rainbow was about six years old. We’d been wanting to go on a family picnic all summer long and there we were, nearly to Halloween and we still hadn’t gone on an official picnic. So we decided we were going to have our picnic the very next Monday for Family Home Evening, No Matter What, and when Monday rolled around it was cold, and blustery, with freezing temperatures forecast for that night. None of that mattered, though, we just bundled everyone up and piled in the car to make a quick stop at the nearest KFC before driving up the canyon into the mountains.
We found a beautiful place with a picnic table and piled out of the minivan, carrying our bucket of chicken, plus all the sides.
The wind scuttled the leaves around our feet and we dished out the food while the kids sat with their hands pulled into their coat sleeves. It was quiet and brown-orange-yellow beautiful. We ate and froze and shivered. I was ready to go when the last of the chicken disappeared, but the kids and Mr. Hot Stuff would have none of it. They wanted to hike up the mountain, so they did. Trail-free, they scrambled their way up the dusty, leaf-scattered, gravel slide until they came to a dirt trail. Not being particularly interested in hauling my pregnant body up there with them, I sat and shivered, and read. Mostly though, I just listened to the quiet.
The shaking leaves and the bird songs helped me finally slow down my brain and just be.
After a while, the kids and Mr. Hot Stuff came butt-sliding down the gravel and we all piled our frozen selves back into the minivan and drove home, promising that next year we needed to do that sooner. Then the next summer rolled around, and in October we realized we hadn’t been on a single picnic.
Thus, came the tradition of the Fall Freeze Picnic.
Even those years when we have remembered to go on other picnics, earlier, everyone demands we still go on the Fall Freeze Picnic. One year, in November (seriously, November) I said that I thought it was way to cold and too late in the year to do it. Wailing banshees! We went on the picnic. It was SO FREEZING. I think that was the winter I started buying wool socks and hoarding them. No kidding, my toes have PTSD. One year we went and there was snow on the ground.
So this last Sunday, we went on our Fall Freeze Picnic early. We sat in an empty canyon park, cooling our backsides on the metal benches, in our crazy hats and scarves, and talked about how warm it was compared to some years. We ate Thai Red Curry Hummus Sandwiches and had a good time. When we got home the warm house felt positively roasty at 72 fahrenheit. Happy Fall!
winner-winner, veggie dinner 🙂