Sure, kids have it easier today when traveling–fancy rest areas, turnpike oases, all modern conveniences.
Not so when I was a kid. As I said two weeks ago, often a rest stop was just a gravel turnoff with a place to park, a path leading back to an outhouse, maybe a water pump, and a few scattered picnic tables.
The picnic tables were typically rustic, perhaps dotted with fallen maple seeds and stained bluish-red from berries, but sitting down for lunch at them was nevertheless a treat. Sometimes Mom would have a plastic tablecloth to lay down first. Then the Coca-Cola cooler would come out, filled with juice and pop, and things like cole slaw, potato salad, and sandwiches wrapped in cellophane. Peanut butter and jelly was my favorite. Sometimes the jelly had kind of soaked into the bread and made it soggy–but it was still my favorite.
Just like at any picnic, then or now, bees would hover over the pop cans and sparrows would hop up to the table as close as they dared, hoping that a crumb or two would drop to the ground. Being in the open air, free and unbent after having been sitting in a car for hours–most of us can relate to that feeling. Maybe things aren’t so different nowadays after all.
And hey, is there any better way to enjoy lunch?