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A Picnic Table to Remember

Garth Brown |

I purchased this picnic table when I realized how much better it would be to have the dozen odd children who attended my daughter’s birthday party outside, particularly while they demolished a rich chocolate cake covered in buttercream. Since getting it we’ve gone from never eating dinner on the lawn to doing so most evenings it isn’t raining.

One danger of nostalgia is that by definition it relies on a misremembered or at least selectively edited version of the past, casting it as attaining a degree of perfection to which the present can never measure up. Because of this it is easy to dwell on the way things used to be rather than accepting the present as it is.

With this thought in mind, what am I meant to do with these summer evenings spent sitting outside with friends and family? Even while experiencing such a night - long before my mind has had time to overlay it with a gauzy patina - I can’t imagine a way to improve it. (Well, maybe a cup of after-dinner coffee.) In another twenty years I’ll either bore everyone I know to death by talking about the one summer we ate outside at the picnic table a lot, or I’ll go the other way and ruin everything by building ever more elaborate outside dining areas with each new construction moving me farther away from the simple pleasure I will be trying to recapture. So I’ll beat on, a boat against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. Or whatever.


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