Was it a colorful or tumultuous event, spectacle, or celebration or a final moment or occasion of glory or achievement? It was a celebration, no doubt about it, and an achievement ~ I'm still here. But was it our last big picnic, the last hurrah. The prep work is killing; just ask Michael how long it takes to make the farm picture perfect (and it would not look like that without him and his crew). Easily 2 weeks of outdoor prep with 2 intensive days, compared to 2 days of house prep. But the morning of, I could not have been prouder and more grateful for the help I had. It was a picture perfect day.
Meet Francesco, owner of Little Italy Italian Food Center, and his family. Together they provided a feast with Bruschetta, Semolina Rolls, Chicken Marsala, Veal Saltimbocca, and Cavatelli with Broccoli and Sausage, while I made Italian Wedding Soup (I'm going to pretend I'm Southern and keep this recipe secret) and Italian and Sweet Sausages with Sauteed Apples. We added a fruit basket and finger fruit at the tables with home-grown strawberries and an assortment of cherries. For beverages, we went fizz free, offering imported Italian Peach Tea, fresh fruit juices, fruit blends, and water. Dessert again from Little Italy with an assortment of Italian cookies and large cannolis and ice cream (wish we could have brought Little Italy's gelatos, but too far to transport). It was a wonderful picnic, perhaps our best yet, but would I do it again.
We invited 36 people, with 9 regrets, bringing us to 27 strong. If you deconstruct the attendees, my mother and brother were noticeably absent, so whatever we do next time, I can promise them we will plan around my brother's work schedule. Thankfully, Andy came, although without Clare (working on a project for a new client; we missed you) but with our grandchildren, Ben, Meredith, and Zoe.
Children always make an event fun, and the younger, the better. Ben is a mature 13 (looks so much older and acts it as well), Meredith is reserved, but Zoe is still young enough to splash about in the pond, chasing frogs and anything else that catches her fancy. You can celebrate the fun we had watching her in these video shorts, finding frogs and fun on The Farm.
I would not have made it to the event calm and collected (and on time) were it not for Debbie and Bryan coming 2 hours early to set up. And God bless Mickey, for schlepping to NJ for the food. It was a picture perfect day, but to pull it off, I lost the holiday weekend (my choice, I know), all 5 days beginning with Thursday after school (and evenings all week too). Last year, after the season's opening picnic, I almost lost my life. So, given the perspective of a healthier new me and a semi-catered event, the answer is yes, this was my last hurrah as big picnics go. Given great help, I know socials of this magnitude take a lot out of me, and I guess I am just not willing to give that much again. I'm thinking much smaller for the Fourth, with family.