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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Welcome to my World

My family loves a good picnic. One of my earliest memories is picnicking by the lake with all the aunts and uncles and playing in the water with the cousins. Nothing changed after the cousins grew up. We all still love a good picnic.
So, every year we take a picnic to Pisgah National Forest. We try to go in the fall when the leaves are pretty, but some years we miss the leaves. It doesn’t matter. We go to a picnic area called Sycamore Flats which has the prettiest little river you ever saw running through it. The river more than makes up for missing the leaves.

My grandsons love to play in the river. The water is crystal clear and flows over some smooth river rocks as it gurgles and bubbles on its way downstream. On the side of the river opposite the picnic tables, rhododendrons form a tangled web that almost totally obscures a little walking trail. Nice small stones, just the right size for my grandsons to throw are readily available along the river’s edge. In most places the water is knee to waist deep. If we ever get up there in the summer the kids can get wet and cool off, but in the fall the water is way too cold to go into.

We’ve perfected the art of a quick picnic. We stop at a grocery store near the entrance to the forest and buy ice, paper products, and whatever food we want to eat. No matter what else we buy, we always buy fried chicken. This year to go with my chicken I had apple pie, potato salad, deviled eggs, and pimento cheese sandwiches. If you aren’t a southerner you probably don’t know about pimento cheese, but trust me; it’s good.

We used to cook it all ourselves, but then we’d be worn out before we ever even left home, so now we just buy the food. Guess what? It tastes great; anything does when you eat it outdoors beside a river.

My son and his wife always bring their guitar and mandolin. They’re a part of a musical group called The Red Hill Rattlers, and after we eat they serenade us. What kind of music? Bluegrass.

Something interesting is always going on in the forest. One year we saw an albino squirrel. Last year we saw a man and woman being baptized as the people sang Down in the River. I do think they might have done it a little earlier in the year. It was cold that day. When we were a little younger, we’d get up a softball game, but we haven’t done that in awhile.

We always get there around noon and stay until the sun is almost gone. Each year I promise myself that we’ll leave earlier so I can browse in the little gift shops around the forest, but I never do. I’d rather sit beside the river listening to music and maybe go back for some more apple pie.


Debra St. John said...

Sitting by the river and apple pie work for me.

This is lovely, Elaine. Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

Elaine Cantrell said...

You're so welcome, Debra. I wish you could have been with us. We'd have talked writing until everybody wanted to strangle us.