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Children should have a "picnic rock" where they can escape with a sandwich, apple or banana and cookies for a snack or noontime meal. This has been the delight of youngsters throughout the ages.

This location might be a large rock in a field where children climb high and overlook the fields around. It could be a large flat rock with various contours so each youngster has their own picnic spot or "room." Perhaps their rock lies beside a brook or pond. It might be on the edge of a woodland or in the midst or a pasture. The rock could be high on a hill or low in a valley.

Both my husband and I enjoyed picnic rocks on the farms of our childhood. Jim and his brothers actually named the rock in their New Hampshire pasture Picnic Rock. Here they took their bag lunches, especially when they were young and didn't have so many farming chores to occupy their time.

Picnic Rock of My Childhood

The rock I remember on the farm in the Hudson River Valley of New York State was large and flat. Sometimes I'd picnic alone with our dog Shep for company. I'd take a book and read and munch. On other occasions, my brothers and sister accompanied me.

I can remember, when we were very small, Mother pushing the baby carriage with my youngest brother, across the pasture to that rock. We three older children carried paper bags with lunch.

Even though Mother was a busy farmwife, she took time for outings with her children midst her chores. Our picnic rock lay beside the path she took from house to hen house where she tended chickens twice a day. On these walks Mother called our attention to the flowers, the birds, and other natural wonders along the way.

We have a large rock in the woods beside our house where grandchildren and their friends often climb and eat their snacks. They also play games around the rock, perhaps build a fort, using the rock as one wall. On the top, they might be sailing a ship across unknown seas, sighting land after many pretend days.

Picnic rocks stimulate the imagination of children, create memories that will last long after they have left the home of their growing up years. These stories they pass along to their children who will find their own rocks to play on and enjoy lunches which somehow taste so much better when eaten here.

A memorable sandwich Jim and his brothers enjoyed, and still do, is one I'd never heard of until I met the Allen family.

Try a PEANUT BUTTER & TOMATO SANDWICH when your children dine on their Picnic Rock:

Spread bread (white, wheat, or rye) with mayonnaise or salad dressing and peanut butter. Add sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumber (optional), and lettuce. Some like to include a slice of cheese. Top with another slice of bread spread with mayonnaise.

Instead of cucumber in the sandwich, my husband likes a dill pickle to accompany it, along with potato chips. Surprisingly, I've found this sandwich tasty, too, especially when eaten out-of-doors on a picnic or hike in the woods.

(c)2003 Mary Emma Allen

Mary Emma Allen writes cooking and consumer articles, books and stories for children and adults. Her latest book is "The Magic of Patchwork." Visit her web site: http://homepage.fcgnetworks.net/jetent/mea; E-mail:
[email protected]
 
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