Mildred Orton picnics

Mildred Orton picnics on her plaid blanket with her sons, Lyman and Jeremy Orton and friends.

Our grandmother was a genuine picnic enthusiast. For summer drives along unpaved roads, she would often plan to stop by a field for lunch. Out came the plaid blanket and wicker basket. For lunch: chicken sandwiches with lettuce and butter on home-baked wheat bread, a slab of Vermont cheddar cheese, Common Crackers, pickled fiddleheads, oatmeal cookies and a thermos of Wilcox’s milk.

We still have Mildred’s picnic basket and thermos, keepsakes of a happy time when our father and uncle were boys. The basket and thermos were still in use by the time we brothers were old enough to picnic, and our grandparents could make a two-hour drive to Rutland seem as exotic and perilous as a safari to Rangoon. The highlight was always wholesome food in the tall grass of a Vermont hay meadow, somewhere along Route 100, on a July afternoon. This was simple and good, and thinking back, few things brought more contentment than being together under clear summer skies, a grateful family well fed.

Cabot Orton
For the Orton Family