How does one have an accidental picnic? It is worthwhile to discuss the perfect storm that happens. Some months ago, I visited The Dalles and somewhat idly mentioned to one of the people there that I hoped we would have a picnic when my mother was in town. Now, I had intended this to be next Sabbath when we planned to visit The Dalles. Separately  I had made similar speculations with my associates at the previous dinner club picnic about having a picnic this Sabbath at a park that was close to services. So, when it happened that I received a text message while visiting Canada, I figured that these two plans had somehow become one, that someone I had told about the picnic on 7/5 had talked to that person, and so I told him when I returned to the US that there was a small picnic planned (?) but that there was an open invitation for others, and that was that.
So it happens that I received a call this morning and gave the details that I had discussed with our dinner club group. Fortunately I had managed to rustle up enough preparation that I did not come entirely empty handed, at least by proxy, and got ready and went to church knowing that we would have a few people there at least. After church, I knew that we would have ten to fifteen people there, and soon it came to be close to 4PM and it was time for us to claim our seats at the park, and so we did, although there was a large and moderately disruptive group there already. At first it looked like many of them were about to leave, but then they turned on Drake’s Scorpion, Side A, and the group that had formed at that park figured that it would continue to be like that for hours, so it was resolved that we would meet up again at Washington Park and that I would lead the way there, and so I did, with a moderately irritating backseat driver who I was attempting to deal with politely.
One we got there, a couple of the party went off to find some free picnic tables and the rest of us walked through the rose garden, which was lovely and full of fragrant flowers. Before too long some tables had been found and we ended up eating, and although a few people didn’t bring any food we had enough for everyone and the food worked out well. The conversation was lively and the kids got to run off their energy somewhat, all of which made for an amusing if somewhat random evening. I had paid for the parking of another driver in order to help calm him down and otherwise it was a pleasant experience for the most part. I have to admit that the people we were eating with were a group of people that I would likely have seldom eaten out with, including a gentleman whose second wife just gave birth to what must have been his ninth child a month ago–someone fulfilling the dominion mandate rather thoroughly.
An odd picnic like this one leads one to several obvious ideas to ponder. For one, how is it that some people are good at inviting others and spreading the news more than others are. For another, it is interesting to ponder the difference between divine providence and human prodding. One of our party, the somewhat obnoxious backseat driver, commented that the picnic was a matter of divine providence, but it appears at least somewhat limited, in that some choices were made or encouraged out of convenience, even if there was some providence, for example, in the way that the food worked so well between the people that brought it. There is something to appreciate in that, after all.