Before we even had children I started a tradition of taking Mr. W on a picnic for Mother's Day weekend. It sort of began as an extension of me making up for lost time while I was living in New York and missing out on Portland. My first year back in the PNdub I went to as many festivals and parks as I could squeeze in, one of which was the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden. Since all the rhodys and azaleas would be in bloom in May I decided Mother's Day weekend would be a good time to visit and a perfect setting for a picnic.
The next year I decided upon Rocky Butte which I had never visited. This began my trend of alternating between parks with gardens and parks with views. These are our parks so far:
2002 Crystal Springs (gardens)
2003 Rocky Butte (view)
2004 Peninsula Park (gardens)
2005 Council Crest (view)
2006 Ladd's Circle (gardens)2007 Washington Park's International Rose Test Garden (both views and gardens)2008 Our parlor floor2009 WestMoreland (garden)2010 Mt. Tabor (view)2011 Duniway Lilac Garden (garden)
Since it was a garden year and we are having a late spring, I thought this lilac garden would be perfect timing. Lilacs are my favorite flower; they are both purple and wonderfully fragrant. I usually scout out the parks prior to picnic day to find the best spot to set up as well as the proximity of good parking spots. We don't pack light for our picnics!
The problem this year was the weather didn't cooperate. Or I am just too ambitious. Or Mr. W doesn't tell me no when he thinks I have a bad idea. We knew before we left the house that it was rainy so we were searching for alternate locations. Unfortunately the PP&R site doesn't list whether the parks have covered picnic areas or not. Something you might think would be relevant and important for Portland park goers...I'm just saying. We had two other options as we drove put, but as we crossed the Willamette the sky opened up and the clouds seemed to disappear. All that sun shine made me irrational. We could still go to the lilac garden after all! So after we parked in the sunshine and loaded up our stroller in the sunshine and walked into the park in the sunshine, it began to sprinkle. On we tread, and the sprinkle turned to drizzle. We decided to abandon our plan to sit at a picnic table out in the open and headed toward a bench under a giant Douglas Fir which was even further away from the car. As I began to convert that sad, vandalized bench into our picnic table the precipitation could only be described as rain. When we sat down to eat it was officially pouring.
I think it is safe to say that I am the only mom forcing her family to have a picnic in the rain on Mother's Day. Mr. W found it much less funny than I did. Oopsie. We all got soaked, our food was wet, even Our Little Helper decided that the novelty of being out in the rain had worn off. Baby Boy was the only one who was dry being safely strapped in the stroller, but he was screaming his head off. Mr. W had had enough and went to retrieve the car as I loaded the stroller up with every rain drenched thing we had and pushed it through the mud toward the street.
Lesson learned. Always find a covered picnic spot if there is any rain forecast. Next year will be better.