Saturday, September 10, 2011

Discovery Park Picnic

Four generations gathered Saturday afternoon on a bluff in Discovery Park overlooking Puget Sound for a late summer family picnic. This is the third year my wonderful sister planned and organized the event that is fast becoming a tradition. The idea is a casual, bring-a-dish gathering centered around a table of great food and drink, whispering evergreens and gentle southerly breezes providing shelter and coolness and nothing special to do but visit with each otherand enjoy the views of the sound and the energetic younger generations. This quite possibly was the best event of the three to date.

Dad filled his role as the elder statesman and had in his view his three children (certainly a treat for him to have all of us together), five of his seven grandchildren, and four of his six great grandchildren along with spouses, significant others, and friends joining in to round out the group. The weather was picture-perfect. The kids played with kites and ran around with parasols and threw balls around the grassy bluff. There was much to eat, comfortable chairs, and as my son would say, "good times".

Dad's favorite part of the outing was watching the energy of his great grandchildren; he loves to see the younger generations in motion. That and the taste of blackberry cobbler made his day. He wasn't able to partake of the spread of food but after sipping on his chocolate Ensure drink he said he was ready for dessert. He enjoyed every bit of his cobbler. Even though I was the cobbler maker, I'm going to brag and toot my horn about the finished product; it was fabulous. This particular recipe can't be beat. The hardest part is picking the blackberries and keeping away from the stinging nettles and thorns. (Aug 2008 post with recipe).

Years ago Dad would comb the blackberry bushes in Discovery Park and bring in a haul of fruit worthy of numerous cobblers, pies, batches of jellies, jams, vinegars, ice creams, sorbets and his own special concoction: blackberry liquor. Blackberries became the symbol of summer in Seattle and the cobbler in particular, the be all and end all dessert for family gatherings.  He always knew where to find the mother lode of hidden vines that weren't picked over by other visitors to the park. Due in part to his love of picking berries and the well used Wild and Free Blackberry Cookbook, we've enjoyed all sorts of treats over the years.

My photos are still on the camera; I doubt they'll be as good as the ones my sister shot. These are hers and they capture just how special the afternoon in the park really was; a time to reflect on the blessings of having loved ones in our lives.

** photos courtesy of MM Hansen

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