Picnics with the ‘Rents

When I was a little girl (a tomboy, really), my family would take car trips to nearby attractions such as Pennsylvania Dutch Country, Sag Harbor, Bayard Cutting Arboretum, Jones Beach, Gilgo Beach, and Fire Island.

Because we were relatively poor (probably lower middle class, really, with bouts of truly poor thrown in), we usually packed our own lunch into a cooler to take in the car with us. This lunch often consisted of cold sandwiches, fruit, maybe some chips or something sweet, and on really excellent occasions, cold fried chicken, potato or macaroni salad, and wat
ermelon!

But no matter what was on the menu, there was always at least one Thermos® on the trip with us. One was stainless steel and held about two gallons of liquid. The other was red plaid and perhaps a liter or two.  The larger Thermos®14867.1L.png
was filled with fruit punch or lemonade, and the smaller Thermos® held coffee for my parents, who drank coffee the way we drink water these days. They had coffee at every meal, and usually hot, no matter what the weather (though Mom was partial to iced coffee in the dead of summer).

The fruit punch or lemonade was a big deal. No, really, a BIG DEAL. My mother was way ahead of her time when it came to nutrition, vitamins and minerals. My sister and I were never, ever allowed to drink sodas, eat candy, or indulge in sweets (not even on Halloween, when we were allowed to collect money for UNICEF but nary a Tootsie Roll). We took a multivitamin every day for at least the first 17-18 years of our lives along with other supplements deemed necessary. Needless to say, we never had cavities.

But back to the beverages of these long ago picnics… I loved putting my paper cup under the spigot of the big silver Thermos® and watching the magical thirst-quenching punch fill up my cup! Having something with a meal other than 100% USDA Grade A Milk was a treat!

Sometimes, I really miss those family trips, not just for the fun picnics and the interesting destinations, but for the family camaraderie. These trips could be tedious, depending on
the length of the ride, the temperature, and the proximity of my sister to me in the back seat of the car (“her elbow is touching me!”), but overall, for a dysfunctional family, we more or less got along on these trips and there was less tension and friction than usual.

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More than the fried chicken or lemonade,that family dynamic makes me nostalgic for one more family trip. According to eBay, I can buy a vintage Thermos® for about $20.00 USD.

Maybe it’s time for my own road trip!

This post was inspired by fellow blogger, The Inspector Clouseau of Blogging.

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