Today was the last round of our dinner club meals this year  and since I was the one hosting, I figured it would be easiest to have a picnic meal al fresca, since I am not able to host it at my domicile. The scheduling of the event proved to be difficult. At first we had set on having it last weekend and then a wedding ended up being on that date so it had to be rescheduled for this week. Choosing the location was a bit of a challenge but I found a cute little park online that had picnic facilities–what proved to be two widely separated picnic tables, but I was able to find the location alright and it was a beautiful if small (roughly 1 acre) park just south of Johnston Creek about ten to fifteen minutes from where we have services. All of that proved to be quite easy.
What was not easy was getting people to the place. I gave as good as directions as I could, and I was able to find the place easily, but not everyone else was as fortunate as I was in that matter. In fact, I arrived at the park and sat down a full fifteen minutes at least before anyone else showed up and probably half an hour to forty-five minutes before the last of our guests showed up. And it was fortunate that we had guests–a couple from church was able to make it and share some food items of their own, even though we all had more than enough to eat. Considering that our entire dinner club group only had four people in it–a couple I am close to, a widow, and myself–having guests keeps the conversation more lively. No one wants to listen to me talk for three hours straight after all.
Overall, the food for the picnic event was a success. I brought tasty salad and some sea salt and pepper kettle chips and we had at least five different types of salad dressing to choose from. Other people brought desserts, chips, and bread and meat and cheese and various condiments. In fact, the food was so enjoyable that we decided to have another picnic, only with an open invitee list, on the first Sabbath of July, the only Sabbath while my mom is here that we will be in Portland (God willing, of course) at the park that is close to the church building. Hopefully it will go off. Summer is a good time for picnics as long as the weather is good like it was today. It was a fantastic day as far as the weather was concerned, and we ended up staying until it was about 6:30PM or so in warm light where the park was nearly ours to ourselves, which made for an enjoyable time.
Of course, it is unclear if we will be having this experience next year. The people who had been responsible for planning this event recently sold their home in Portland and moved away to rural Washington, and even with their encouragement we only had seven “families,” four in one group and three in our particularly small group. Even to make our group this year fun we had to invite all kinds of people to fill out the numbers, as a dinner club meeting with our people, even four people as friendly as we ourselves are, is not as enjoyable as it would otherwise be when there are at least a few more voices to add. It is striking, of course, that even in such a group as we had we managed to find sensitive subjects. For example, we spoke of the discovery of DNA , which triggered at least one of the people who was particularly vehement about how Rosalind Franklin was denied her proper credit because of the boys’ club nature of science at the time, which I suppose would be a sore spot for many women. Such is the nature of life, though. Even in a park-like environment one cannot help but be reminded of one’s humanity.
 See, for example:
 See, for example: