A bucket of chicken and an airplane

It was Saturday morning and I had risen early in anticipation of a family outing.

I couldn’t have been more than seven and of course to me the adventure should start right then despite the fact it was an afternoon picnic that was planned.

Disappointed, I had to fill so many hours, my parents managed to usher me outside saying find something to do until it was time to go.

It was amazing how imagination allowed me to create amazing scenarios of play with little more than sticks, rocks, and dirt. I had a couple of vehicle toys, a John Deere tractor and a dump truck and a few matchbox cars that I intermixed with my plastic army men and some cowboys and Indians.

I am sure I never create any historically accurate battles with these pieces but I soon found myself engrossed in whatever scenario my mind created and the time would fly by.

Before I knew it mother had come out saying, “Look at you, you look like you ate have of the dirt in the back yard. Get in here and get changed and wash up.”

Usually, this request yielded a half-hearted approach, but I knew this time that the faster I was ready the sooner we would be on a picnic.

Mother had packed away some potato salad, made up a container of tea and some coffee, and on the table in a Tupperware tote was a coconut cake. Dad the night before had made some fresh strawberry ice cream and placed it in the freezer for our outing.

Once I was ready, we climbed into the blue 1964 Malibu and headed towards town where we stopped at the Kentucky Fried Chicken. I always enjoyed going there because you got those little towelettes that smelled like lemons.

We would order a bucket of chicken to go with what mother had made and off we would go to the DeKalb-Peachtree Airport, we would back up to the fence near the runway and mother would open the trunk, spread out a table cloth, sit out some lawn chairs and we would have our picnic. Usually some friends who did the same joined us.

As we shared the time together, we would watch and occasional prop plane arrive and take off. There really weren’t jets using it much at that time.

I was fascinated at how the planes achieved the miracle of flight, I would often reach my arms out on both side mimicking their take offs but, of course, I never managed to rise into the blue. Of course, I did repeat the process many times at home and gave it a better try when there was a coach or a bed to ease my descent.

While watching the planes come in and go out gave us a reason to be there, now so many years later, I realize what my parents were giving me then. We were sharing life, eating, talking, laughing, and creating a memory that could last beyond the moment. A few hours on a Saturday afternoon gave me something to look forward to and an adventure to remember and talk about with my friends. It may seem simplistic in this time where we try to fill every minute with something.

I remember those picnics, I remember the trips to walk in the restaurant with dad to order the chicken and waiting for them to put it in the bucket. I remember the anxious time of getting there and mom setting everything up. I remember no matter what I might have in my hand to eat, dropping it and rushing towards the fence each and every time a plane would taxi by. As we finished all to eat, I remember opening the towelette and holding it to my nose to smell the lemons before using it.

More than anything, I remember the smiles on my parent’s faces, and the love I felt as a kid knowing they loved me. Have you done something special with a child you care about lately? Have you made them feel loved? There is more to life than the noise around us, the never ending things to do, and that feeling there is not enough time. Make the time and a memory.