The family picnic was my favorite. As a young lad, I remember playing dice games with my aunts, hiking in the woods, playing softball, and lots of good eats. We brought our charcoal grills, except for one uncle who was proud of his wood-burner. Once my Aunt Jo ran out of the outhouse in a frenzy; she had been attacked by a swarm of bees. Another year my accident-prone cousin fell into the Des Plaines River.
The family picnic included my mother’s side of the family (they were of Polish descent). One year, my Uncle Al told my dad “his people” (the Slovak club) was holding a picnic in the other pavilion. We moseyed on over and tried a pastry we had never heard of (and we ate a lot of Slovak food): cabbage strudel. It did not sound very appetizing. After we tasted it, we were surprised. It tasted even worse than we imagined!
Some years we would take week-long vacations, often to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, usually renting a cabin near Crystal Falls. Once we went to Chain O’ Lakes or Tomahawk, Wis. Even with school starting after Labor Day, summer was too short.
Kokomo summers bring their own memories: summer camps, fishing clinics, Park Band concerts, the Haynes Apperson Festival and a host of concerts, events, art- or drama-related activities and sporting events. Life is better when kids are allowed to be kids and families are a source of joy.
Ed Vasicek is pastor of Highland Park Church and a weekly contributor to the Kokomo Tribune. Contact him at email@example.com.