It never fails, the labor day picnic has a way of taking us all back in time. It has been a yearly occurance for at least 60 years in the Washburn family (my mother's) and has always taken place at "the farm". For a few years after great-grampa and three of his sons had passed away, attendance began to dwindle. However, the picnic was resurrected to its original state the year my grandfather passed away. It seemed only fitting to put on a gala affair that year for him and it helped those of us (who were grieving him at every event) get through our first labor day picnic without him. The family turned out in 2005 in overwhelming numbers...he definitely had a hand in getting them all there...and since then it seems that we've managed to salvage the sense of family in those of us who are left to carry on. There were some regulars missing this year, due to sickness, but all in all not a bad crowd. The furthest family members come from Maryland, Virginia and Vermont. Some of us live on the same street and some only 20 minutes away. I just have to walk across the street! Many friends have become family and are welcome too. I can't help but think of the time when it will be up to my generation to be sure this continues and it will be quite an undertaking...however, I looked around on sunday and thought that there will surely be enough of us who will think it's important and necessary. The kids played shuffleboard on the court that my great-grandparents constructed and that my grandmother paints each year before the big day. Every little kid there runs to get in the wagon when they hear the tractor start up for the hayride. The same tractor that my great grandfather plowed his fields with. There are several volleyball games throughout the day and at least one that is announced as an adult only game. There is plenty of food- the "Henry Pot" that Janie makes because it was her father's favorite, Gramma's potato salad, corn on the cob from the garden 50 feet away, Vicky's baked beans, lots of desserts, and several new recipes appear each year. The last thing my grandfather used to say as we walked out the door was "come back". Well gramp, they have and they will, for years to come.
* in memory of grampa hoddie*