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A July 4th Picnic

A story by Connie Westreich

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I grew up in a suburb in the borough of Queens, N.Y. – Richmond Hill, to be exact. I was one of two children – I had an older brother. He passed away about ten years ago. During the summer months my family frequently drove to Belmont Lake State Park (Long Island) for a picnic – especially on a holiday like July 4th. This story is about a July 4th picnic! My brother and I jumped out of the car, and raced to the picnic grounds in the park. Gravel churned under my thick-soled sneakers. As I sped along, my feet barely felt the sharp points of the gravel. I was looking for the brown rustic picnic tables with their attached benches. They always looked so drab with their many cracked wooden boards. As I got closer, I gazed at the freshly painted and repaired picnic tables. They glistened under the bright rays of the afternoon sun. Small patches of pale green grass fluttered in the warm breeze. The park had been dressed-up for the holiday! The families were dressed in brightly colored clothing – with patriotic colors. The children ran around playing in their colorful clothes! Many youngsters carried small flags attached to thin wooden sticks. The leaves on the branches of the large old maple, oak and sycamore trees cast some welcome shade. The worn-looking stone cooking grills had been polished. Smoke billowed up into the air and the delicious aroma of hamburgers cooking, steaks sizzling and French fries browning was enjoyed by all! The pungent aroma of pickles and onions made me hungry. I could almost taste the baked beans simmering in the pot on the grill. I burnt my hand slightly as I tried to taste the beans with a spoon. My mother told me to put my hand on the lid of a cold lemonade jug. The smooth icy surface soothed my irritated skin. Zoe, my friend’s barking dog, led me towards the lake that edged the grounds. She seemed to sense that I was too close to the cooking grills. The blue water of the lake glistened and rippled in the bright sunshine. Flat-bottomed row-boats drifted on the water. It was a charming scene. I bathed my injured hand in the clean, cool water. As I turned around to head back to the picnic area, I heard the distant clang of parade music – the banging of drums, the ringing of cymbals, and the tooting of horns. I hoped that after I ate, I would be able to see the beautiful white marching horses! My plate filled with mouth-watering food was a welcome sight. I eagerly bit into a warm tasty hamburger on a hot sweet roll. I sipped tart lemonade from a shiny plastic cup – I enjoyed my piping hot, tasty baked beans. Potato salad, made with lots of mayonnaise, slid smoothly down my throat. Dessert was a soft chewy cookie with a large chunk of chocolate in the middle. After I finished eating, I found my jump-rope. As I turned it quickly over my head, I smiled as I skipped along. It had been a glorious day!!

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 flags,hamburgers,hot dogs,July 4th,jump rope,lake,picnic
  Belmont Lake State Park, Long Island, NY
Jun 24 2024

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