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Two sudden weather strikes cause us to ponder picnics

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When my wife, Peggy, was living, we used to drive over to her Asheville hometown six or seven times a year after work on Fridays, and we always enjoyed the visits, including with our four sons soon after their arrival. The last one, Todd, was born in 1964. I remember hearing his brother, Jimmy, say outside Wake Forest Hospital, where he was born, say, “Don’t they have any girls in there?”

“Yes, they had some girls born there, but it didn’t have anything to do with the hospital,” his mother and I tried to tell him, but I think it went into one ear out the other. Greg always was a deep thinker and didn’t take talk from his parents lightly.

We as parents often do the same thing. We just have to stop and think about the many times we question directional instructions. Greg seemed to do it automatically, while others pondered.

One of those times was extra special. When it was a celebration anniversary of students at Asheville’s Lee Edwards High School class of ’47 and Peggy offered to help in any way she could.

The celebration started out with a picnic in a large wooded are with tables and benches next to a large lake on what appeared to be at a property belonging to a power company on the other side.

We started out by placing plastic tablecloths and then our plastic plates, utensils, and then our carefully covered food and cups turned upside down. There was a slight wind and I noticed small lake waves, but nothing to be alarmed about.

I went over to the tables and benches (and food), and helped spread things out and pour some iced tea into the plastic glasses. Whoa! Hold on! What was that? Rain drops? Yes that was small ran drops, but then they became bigger and with more force from higher winds.

Everyone began to check out our tableware from either being blown off, or our carefully prepared food being watered down from rain drops by now being forced on us by higher winds.

But nothing could beat the terrible racing some late-comers encountered at the table across from ours. The table had no cover like most all others like ours, and the rain was devastating to their carefully placed food stuff on their table.

I watched in pitiful sorrow as those folks rushed around trying to grab this and that before either the wind blew it away, or the rain turned it into waste. And my hands were tied trying to keep our table top together.

The strange thing about this, a couple of years later when Peggy’s family of about a dozen planned a cook-out picnic at Craggy Gardens just off the Blue Ridge Parkway north of Asheville, another surprise greeted us.

It was a beautiful Saturday — bright and clear, and it was one of the few times when we had almost the entire family in attendance and at least two members had cookers. They both had their cookers going with hamburgers and hot dogs and another had chili to top off the tasty treats.

Well, as weather can change rapidly, especially in the mountains we got our share just as we had the burgers and chili almost ready to eat, we had the big surprise of a pop-up weather front with a cold shower and a drastic drop in temperature.

It was also the first time I felt brave enough to wear my new Bermuda shorts. Wow! I didn’t realize how much I would ever miss the warmth of my regular slacks. It turned really cold in a matter of minutes.

It was about this time Peggy’s family realized we just weren’t ready to have a picnic after striking out twice!

Bob Allen, publisher emeritus of The Wake Weekly, invites comments at 919-556-3059 or