When Life’s No Picinic

Illustration: Jenny Bowman

Illustration: Jenny Bowman

Idyllic summer days and leisurely family picnics go hand in glove like, um, hands in gloves.
When I was a youngster in the ’60s, however, a picnic with my family was more akin to throwing down the gauntlet to the fates.

Our father stood by the pink, open driver’s seat door of our old maroon FE Holden, snapping orders as we elbowed our way onto the clammy vinyl of the back seat. ”You sit there and look out that window. You sit there and don’t you touch him. Tuck your elbows in. I don’t want any carry-on during this trip or I’ll wring your bloody necks.” There we sat in our cotton shorts, T-shirts and plastic sandals, me, my three brothers and one other kid, with our bare legs clinging to the vinyl seat, waiting for our mother to turn up with the baby so the adventure could begin.

But our mother was always distracted by some last-minute fussing, as our father stood drumming his fingers on the roof of the Holden, calling out ”Kath, hurry up. We’ve got to get going.” When our mother finally arrived with food in a basket – there were sandwiches and fruit in the tartan metal Esky in the boot – our father planted his foot on the accelerator as she struggled to close the door. We were off on our adventure.

Read more @ The Canberra Times 8 Jan 2012: When Life’s No Picinic

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