Saturday, July 22, 2006

Pioneer Day Picnic

It was an indoor picnic, of course. We've been having a record heat wave (as much of the rest of the country, and probably the globe, have), and so everything was done in the cultural hall. We picked up El Pollo Loco on the way since we were supposed to bring a picnic, watermelon, lemonade, and ice cream to be provided (there's a special deal on family meals right now where you get an extra side with your meal, so we got an 8-piece meal with beans, rice, and coleslaw as the sides. There was enough left over for dinner, as well.) It was about 100 degrees as we walked into the building at 9:45 in the morning.

I started itching as soon as we walked in-- turns out one sister had brought a rabbit, which I am extremely allergic to. (She harvests their fuzz and cards, spins, and weaves out of it. She expressed dismay upon learning that I'm allergic; apparently she had been planning to make a baby blanket for me and Bridget. I just kept my distance from the animal and was careful not to touch the spinning and carding stuff she'd brought, and mild discomfort from the itchiness was all I suffered, so it was cool. I am allergic to some very strange things-- rubbing alcohol, CoolWhip and several other non-dairy creamers/toppings, and a certain food dye among them, so rabbits are one of my more normal and avoidable and manageable allergies.)

She had also brought her concertina. Another sister had brought her mountain dulcimer (not even vaguely the same as a hammered dulcimer, if you're interested.) I made dearest husband run home for his guitar (which he doesn't really play, but I wanted available in case someone wanted it), my mandolin (which I haven't picked up in ages, but had fun trying to tune), and Emma's tambourine. We all had fun trying to do some old songs together (and mostly failing miserably), but much excited talking ensued out of the fact that we all like the old folk songs and the old-time Gospel music, and we have vowed to get together and try to get some stuff ready for public consumption. I don't know if anything will come of it, but it would be interesting to see. They seemed impressed that I know all the words to these old songs, and happy that someone of my generation is keeping them alive and singing them to her children. The old folk songs are one of my "pet" things. I think we need to teach our children these songs; they're part of our history, part of our heritage, a wonderful legacy from our forbearers. But I digress.

Before we got to that part, we went to the room where one sister was churning butter by shaking it in jars with the children. The bishop, my husband, and I were the ones who actually ended up shaking it enough to churn it. Then I went off to have fun with the musical sisters while my husband fed Ems, Bridey napped, and later Emma discovered the wooden blocks and assorted other "pioneer" type toys they had laid out for the young nursery-age kids. I did eventually get hungry and eat. I was good and ate only watermelon for dessert. (Emma had a big bowl of ice cream as well. She loves ice cream. Surprisingly, she turned up her nose at the hot dogs they had provided for those who didn't bring a picnic, and wanted chicken, beans, and rice on a tortilla. She does enjoy variety in her diet, that one.)

Overall, it was quite a satisfying activity. We don't do as much for Pioneer Day here as they do in Utah, obviously (we don't have a state holiday, either.) But I have always been into history, so I enjoy a chance to have fun with this kind of stuff.

On an amusing side note, for the last month an announcement has been in our ward bulletin that reads, "The La Canada building is missing four pioneer handcart wheels that belong to the stake. They stand four feet tall and are made of wood. If you have seen them, please call..." My initial reaction was, "We have handcart wheels?" Followed by, "How and why would they disappear? And to where?" It makes me grin every time I see it (although I'm sure it's distressing to whoever wanted to use them!)

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