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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

A Family Picnic

grilling-hamburgersWith a drive time of less than three hours, our family is able to visit Benedetto’s mother in the farm country outside of Philadelphia. She lives in a lovely assisted-care facility where the caregivers truly care and the grounds are beautiful.

As an added benefit, we get to spend a couple of hours with his sister’s family who just happen to have a just-turned-thirteen teen daughter. All of our kids love this cousin and treat her as a younger sister at family get-togethers. We drop off Misha and Grisha the Scotties at a doggie daycare for half the day, in case they feel led to tussle with their cousin-dog, Charlie, who happens to be a bit hyper.

“We’ll grill,” Benedetto’s sister suggested, and their burgers expanded into salad and baked beans and birthday cake.IMG_0340

Our family brought a huge, main-course salad filled with spinach, chicken, orzo, and so much more. I’ll have to share the recipe one day. Yumalicious. We came laden with bottles of sparkling water, as well.

So, on an almost-summer afternoon, with the temps in the low-80s and a nice, cooling breeze, it turned into a picnic of sorts. Eating “al fresco”, which is not how the Italians say it at all, but how Americans think the Italians say to dine outdoors. Just like there are no spaghetti-and-meatball listings on a real Italian menu, but I digress, since this family eats plenty of meatballs, but not with spaghetti, however, we’re not talking about that anyway….

IMG_0325A table was spread for the children near the overshadowing mulberry tree. They perched on antique chairs gathered from the garage. Their attire probably should have been along the lines of crisp linens for croquet or lawn tennis. Instead, the girls wore silk summer sweaters and the boys, the ubiquitous polos.

We adults dined around the wrought-iron, umbrellaed table, seated on our own swivel chairs, perfect for keeping an eye on the goings-on at the other table.

Just in case. After all, Charlie was on the loose, which threw another twist into the equation, yet who was the least of our worries. I glimpsed tall-and-skinny Pasha pulling up his shirt sleeve and tryingIMG_0348 to show his muscle to his supposedly-impressionable young cousin. Or, should I say, show his supposed muscle to his kind cousin who giggled and looked away. I raised my eyebrows and he got the drift.

Tiny birthday and graduation presents were slipped to anyone feted in the recent past, or scheduled to be in the near future. The teens all changed into “Italia” t-shirts, a gift from yours truly to honor Benedetto’s side of the family, and spurring yet another photo op.

When the mosquitoes came out to play, we headed back on our way.

Picnics possess a certain panache all their own. They’re carefree, and casual. No electronics need be involved. Family members relax and relate.

Altogether, a refreshing interlude. I’d recommend it.

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