• Brookelynn Darwin

Thrifted Picnic basket afternoon


Picnics are the sort of thing people should do more often. No one really talks about how much better things taste when eaten on a blanket in the shade. Why do we always hear such grand resolutions based on productivity every January first and never to indulge in more small pleasures like picnics on a thursday afternoon?

I hadn’t picnicked since I was a kid and even now I can’t pinpoint a time that we packed everything in a wicker basket and set out with intention. It was probably more of a grab a sandwich and eat it in the park sort of deal. Still, I had a feeling this was something we should be doing more often, sort of a missing key, so I’ve been keeping an eye out for the perfect basket at the thrift stores. When I finally brought one home last week, Chase didn’t wait for me to invite him.

“Let’s go for a picnic,” he said almost as a reflex to seeing my thrifted treasure.

This is one of the many reasons why I love him. He didn’t wait for me to make the suggestion, which would probably have felt like me dragging him on one of my little escapades. He adopted the idea himself, joining in on my joy. This is the kind of thing that makes our marriage thrive and yet I’m not really sure what it is. What would you even call this quality? Emotional generosity? Intuition with a side of initiative? Maybe he just really wanted to go on a picnic too. Either way, it works, and we are happy.

I gave the basket a hot soak in some bleached water, releasing all the hidden smells of nicotine. It reminded me of the way my father’s camper smelled. The vintage brown upholstery saturated with the unmistakeable aroma of cigarettes and dust. It stirred up feelings of both nostalgia and rejection and the bleach ate through the already disintegrating handles so after the bath, I fashioned a new latching system with some reed spline and a porcelain drawer pull. I love the way they drawer pull looks, but I’ll have to find a sturdier substitute for the spline. For our picnic though, it would do.

This may actually already exist, likely confirmed by a quick google search, but Chase had the inspired idea to layer brie, salami, and honeycomb on a cracker. If you’ve never done this, stop everything right now. Go buy the aforementioned ingredients and report back. There are a few meals I can look back on with such fondness and awe. One was the ricotta cheesecake Chase and I shared late one night at an Italian restaurant in San Diego. The po’boys from Guy’s in New Orleans, the lobster bisque in Salem…I guess there have been quite a few. For brevity though, I’ll stop there and just say that this brie/salami/honey combo goes right up there in the big leagues. And eating it in the park with the love of my life and our muppet dog, played no small part in the deliciousness of it.





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