Haines, My Way: Memories of family's annual Easter picnic

Rebecca Haines

It’s almost my favorite time of year, and I can’t wait to see spring in full throttle.

Spring is a time of freshness and rejuvenation. People are cleaning, flowers are sprouting and the temperatures are slowly rising. Oh this time of year is so beautiful, it warms my soul.

My favorite spring memory is of course one of our annual Easter family picnics. This blessed holiday is always awesome year after year, but there was one that remains vivid in my mind.

I was about 10 years old. Back then, we always had the occasion at my uncle’s cabin near White Oak Creek, way east of Carthage, Mo. After sunrise service, I would be squirming to get home to change into clothes I was allowed to get obscenely dirty. Mom and Dad would be packing the truck with picnic supplies and favorite activities, such as baseball gloves, Frisbees and perhaps a football. My older brother and I were given the responsibility of being “ready and in the truck before it left without us.”

It was early afternoon, just when the temperature was starting to heat up a little. After the dreadfully long drive, my eyes would sparkle at the sight of the cabin nestled securely in the woods, the bag swing tied to the enormous tree, the makings of a camp fire and tables set up ready for loads of food.

My cousins would already be there, running around somewhere, waiting to be found. In my favorite memory, us kids went down to the spring and waded up to our ankles in the freezing, clear water. Were we crazy? Yes, and we loved every second of it.

We came back to the cabin to see many more friends and family members had arrived and were ready to eat. We all stood in a circle, which was a rather large circle, held hands, and said a prayer. We thanked the Lord we were all together, healthy and happy and very grateful we had the privilege of knowing our savior on that Easter Sunday.

All the kids were usually antsy and pecked on food all day rather than eating all at once. After a hot dog, we walked down to the creek, which is completely different than the spring. Here, we threw rocks into the water, caught pollywogs and crawdads, and splashed one another with the water.

It wasn’t Easter until we all assembled in the field for a game of slow-pitch softball. From what I remember, there were no real teams. There wasn’t even a score. There was just playing. All the kids would take turns, and every once in while we’d let the adults take a swing at the plate, which was literally a paper plate held down by a rock.

The day would grow old, the campfire would slowly die, and everyone would help clean up. Friends and family hugged and said good-bye and how “they missed each other already.”

I would take one more swing on that ridiculously fun bag swing before getting in the truck to go back home. It was too sad to think I had school the next day. But this was the best time ever for me. And I’ll never forget those picnics.

Carthage Press