Summer may not be the only time to have a picnic, but it is by far the perfect time to have a picnic. At other times of the year we are normally more rushed than during the summer. Therefore, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and Yours Truly endeavor to put in one picnic during the summer.
Drawing on my many years of experience in picnic lore, I can tell you the most important ingredient for any successful picnic is the weather.
There was a time, oh so long ago, when I thought the most important ingredient for a picnic was the picnic basket. I have discovered through the years you can have the best picnic basket in the world filled with the most scrumptious food and it all can be for naught if the weather doesn't cooperate.
There is nothing like a naughty weather day to spoil a picnic.
I cannot tell you how many times my wife and I, with the little kiddies behind us, planned for a picnic in the park only to have it ruined by rain. And by this time I really can't tell you how many times.
It's not just having our picnic canceled but it is the whining, moping around and stomping of the feet that really irritated me. I tell you it was more than the children and I could handle.
And here's some of my accumulated picnic lore I want to share with you.
You know it's going to rain when there has been a four-month drought. The mere planning of a family picnic can break a four-month drought.
You know it's going to rain when the weatherman says, "Clear skies for the weekend." It's a little game Mother Nature likes to play with the weatherman.
The bigger the picnic the better chance it will rain all day.
The longer a picnic has been planned the better the chance it will rain that day ... and that very hour only. It usually will rain long enough until somebody sighs deeply and says, "It's no use, we'll have to cancel the picnic." Then, there will be a little giggle somewhere in the sky, and the rain will quit and the sun will shine again.
One day I had enough of this nonsense. We had planned for a family picnic and all of us were dreading it would rain. All week long, the skies were clear and bright. Not a cloud to be seen anywhere.
The Saturday of the picnic began clear as a bell. We set the time of the picnic for 10 o'clock in the morning. Secretly, our plans were to have the picnic at one o'clock in the afternoon. But that was just between the family.
We got up in the morning and said rather loudly, so you know who would hear us, "It's a great day for a picnic. I can't wait for 10 o'clock to come so we can have our picnic." I had the door open and was standing in the doorway when I said this.
That was about nine o'clock.
About 9:45, a few clouds began to gather. We all observed this quite carefully. A few minutes before 10 o'clock it began to rain for all it was worth.
I love it when a plan comes together.
Right at 10 o'clock I went to the doorway opened the door, sighed deeply and said as loudly as I could, "It's no use, we'll have to cancel our picnic." Predictably, there was a little giggle somewhere in the sky, and the rain stopped as quickly as it came and the sun shone ever so brightly.
We waited a few moments, and then made a dash for the car concealing the picnic basket. Before Mother Nature knew what we were doing we were out of sight.
I know it is not nice to fool Mother Nature, but sometimes it is necessary.
Here is another thing you can do to "fool Mother Nature."
The next time you plan a family picnic keep it secret. Make all the plans in hushed voices. After you have packed the picnic basket, put it in a garbage bag and tie it tightly.
When the time comes to leave for your picnic, stand at the door in your bathrobe with a cup of coffee in your hand and pretend to yawn. There is nothing Mother Nature hates more than someone standing in their bathrobe at the front door yawning.
While you are at the front door say in a very loud voice, "It's a good day to stay indoors."
In the meantime, your wife and children are sneaking out the back door and hiding in the car. Nonchalantly, close the front door, sneak out the back door, and join your family in the car. Make sure the garbage bag is in plain view so if Mother Nature happens to see you driving away all she will see is the garbage bag and will think you're taking it to the dump.
I'm so thankful our Heavenly Father is not as persnickety as Mother Nature. A favorite passage of Scripture of mine is, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." (James 1:17 KJV.)
I can always count on God for the perfect gift.
If you think outwitting Mother Nature is difficult, wait until you must deal with Father Time.
James L. Snyder is an award winning author and popular columnist living with his wife, Martha, in Ocala, Florida and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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