The church picnic

June 20, 2024   ·   0 Comments

By Keith Schell

With the end of spring approaching in 1969, it was almost time for our little country Church to let out for the summer. Situated in the middle of cottage country, the leaders of our Church were realistic enough to know that no one wanted to be stuck in Church on a hot Sunday morning in the summer, especially with no air conditioning available back then and the fact that the summertime was usually the busy time for many of the local parishioners whose jobs tended to be dependent on the summer tourist trade.

But the last Sunday when Church let out for the summer was always notable for one particular event that occurred after our late morning services concluded.

And that event was: the church picnic.

After services ended at eleven o’clock that morning, the congregation would begin to gather on the front lawn with folding tables and chairs and start to get the summer farewell picnic into full swing.     

We played all the usual games that you would play at a community Church picnic; the three-legged race, using a spoon to race across the lawn to fill a cup with water, the potato sack race, and so forth. All staples of a good Church picnic and all good fun! The laughter of the adults mixed in with the giggling of the children and always made for a very happy time!

After the games were concluded, out came the food. Platters of assorted sandwiches, tubs of homemade potato and other assorted salads, a variety of baked desserts, assorted soft drinks for the kids, coffee and tea for the grownups, and all the other assorted delectable fares that one would normally see at a lovely Church picnic. All were made or provided by the loving hands of the tireless volunteers who worked to make our Church a vibrant part of the local rural community. God was truly good to us on that day.  

I took a sandwich from a platter but I was still of the age where I stubbornly refused to eat the bread crusts on my sandwich. I ate the sandwich and put the crusts in the trash. My Mother saw what I was doing and told me to eat my bread crusts. I refused. As this bread-crust battle of wills between my Mother and myself began, our Church leader saw me defying my Mother and came over to intervene. When he found out what was happening, a little smile came to his face. He turned to face me, and, wagging his finger at me, gave me this stern warning:  


I looked at the top of his head. Hmm. I gave his warning some pretty serious thought back then because he was pretty bald at the time! (A good fellow and a devout Christian, I guess he never ate his bread crusts all his life because he is still pretty bald to this day!)

But after our Church leader walked away, I decided to risk my hair that day and had another sandwich without eating the bread crusts. (But I will say this: today I am a good boy who eats his bread crusts all the time and while my forehead today is a bit higher than it used to be, to this day I still have a fairly decent head of hair!)

After that, I headed to the dessert table. My Mother usually baked one of her legendary chocolate cakes for the picnic, and of course, I always had a piece of that as I surveyed the rest of the desserts to see what other delicacies I might want to sample that day. There was always something delectable and delicious to try on the dessert table!  

After lunch we chose up sides for a friendly little baseball game and at the conclusion of that game, the picnic started to wind down for the afternoon. ‘Thank yous’ and ‘goodbyes’ were said to all present for the lovely time that was had on that last Sunday gathering before Church finally let out for the summer.  

A good time at the picnic was had by all and as we parted ways for the summer we always looked forward to congregating again in the fall to commence Sunday Church services yet again.

But times change, and sadly, not always for the better. As we children grew up and moved away from the home of our youth to begin our lives elsewhere, attendance began to dwindle over the years at our little country Church. Eventually, it was forced to close its doors for good in the fall of 2016 due to a lack of attendance.

And even though the Church of my youth is now lost to the ages, the happy memories of the fun and fellowship of the childhood Church picnics spent amongst good friends and neighbours will always be with me and will always provide me with a pleasant source of life-long joy and comfort.

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