Estes Park and Fort Collins, Colorado
Grandma brought a jar of her pickled peaches and red cinnamon apple rings. Grandma’s home made sliced bread, with home churned butter was always a must on your picnic plate. Sometimes I ate that first because it was just like dessert!
Packing to keeping things cold was a chore too. No fancy big coolers on rollers, with frozen packs inside. Picnic baskets, lined with table clothes, crushed ice and later ice cubes, put in doubled plastic bags and tied tight in the bottom with the chicken and potato salad on top. News papers packed around the top. We had only one picnic basket so the other basket was a big box, lined with news paper and crushed ice in the bottom, pies carefully arranged on top and newspaper, table clothes and dish towels on top of to keep them cool. This was packed at the last minute just before we “took off for the mountains.” Mom’s scolding and worrying about not having anything spilled or tipped, was loaded into the very spacious trunk of the car by my Dad. Trunk lid shut, kids in the car all dressed in the finest picnic clothes, Mom got in last. Dad would look around and ask if we were ready to go. We, Ginger, John (Butch) and me, (Elaine and Jim were still twinkles) would say YUP, in great anticipation of a long trip to “the mountains.” Mom would say, hope I remembered everything.
And yes, I almost forgot - the big gallon jar full of Mom’s lemonade with lemon and orange slices and the ice clinking inside the jar. That was wrapped in newspaper too and stored in a tight spot between the two picnic baskets. The third basket was full of dishes and silverware, serving spoons and the pickles. No paper plates in those early days!!
The long trip to Estes Park was so much fun because Dad would stop half way up, beside the river, take off his shoes and socks and sit on a rock and soak his feet. I suspect it was potty break for us kids also. Grandpa and Grandma with Les and Marvin in their car and Norman and Ruth in theirs, would pull up and stretch and take big whiffs of “that wonderful mountain air.” All loaded back in the cars, we took off for Estes Park and the picnic patch beside the river. Unload the cars and spread out the blankets on the grass, the women would unpack the food, while Dad and Grandpa would be down at the river - what else - soaking their feet in the cold water. Dad would get us kids to do that for a short while, but we had other things to explore with our uncles. Running along the river, throwing rocks and hear them click clunk into the swift water still rings in my ears. AND that river and the picnic ground in Estes Park is where I had my first taste of Double Bubble Gum. Thanks to my Uncle Marvin!! I still remember the great taste. I still buy a piece of Double Bubble once in a while!
Years later when I went to High School, we would go into Fort Collins to the lake where there was picnic tables and a roller skating rink and a little train that ran around the outer edges of the picnic ground. We would join all the friends and neighbors for the “fireworks.” Setting on the little knolls on a blanket waiting to see the fireworks explode over the lake was a big thrill for this farm gal that had hardly ever gone into town except to shop for grocery’s or clothes. It was a “wonderment” - Dads words. Sometimes we got to go the parade in the mornings to see them marching down the streets of Fort Collins. It was a busy time of year for Dad so we either went to the parade or the fireworks, not both.
Susan relates that in Church Sunday was the best sermon ever about the Fourth of July! They sang “My Country t’is of Thee” And “TheStar Spangled Banner” all four verses, not usually heard. This was the song. her son, Joey used to sing before Football in High school. She also said, because of the founding Fathers principles, our counrty was founded on Christianity and they were not afraid to declare it.