He’d spent the afternoon washing and waxing his car. The interior had been vacuumed and the leather seats polished with saddle soap, the dashboard was polished and every piece of chrome on the car glistened like his grandmother’s silver service. Everything had to look just right for today.
This would be the third time they’d seen each other and the first two had seemed so promising and had been so much fun, despite the circumstances of their first encounter. Their first real date had been pizza and a movie, followed by a couple of hours of quiet conversation, parked at a scenic overlook watching planes depart and land with the city lights in the background. Contrary to the sophomoric behavior of their friends, they’d eschewed necking and such, both wanting to know more about each other before getting involved any farther. Tomorrow had been her idea, a picnic at the park. They needed to talk about it in order to figure out the details though.
She’d finished the family laundry and cleaned up the house, thoughts running through her mind all the while. He’s a really nice guy…, much nicer than others I’ve been out with. I hope he likes me as much as I think I like him. With that, she picked up the phone.
He had been sitting at the kitchen table when the phone rang. He snatched it up quickly before anyone else could grab it.
“Hi…, what’s up?”
“How did you know it was me?”
“I don’t know…, 7:30 on Friday evening and we’re going on a picnic tomorrow…, who else would it be?”
“Ok, I need to know who is going to bring what tomorrow. I know you’ll be picking me up but what do I need to bring?”
“Food! Just food. I’ll take care of drinks and the rest that we’ll need, ok?”
“You can’t really talk, can you? Parents or sister there, right”
“Ok. See you tomorrow around noon, maybe a little early?”
“Ok, I can do a little early.”
He didn’t sleep well that night…, too excited. He really liked her and wanted to make a good impression. He tossed and turned, and was up with the sun. There was the morning farm work to be done, and then he needed to gather some stuff into the car without a lot of notice or comment.
He had two blankets, one old one to put on the ground, and one nice one to spread over that one for them to sit on and eat. He put two bottles of pepsi in the freezer to chill earlier and now took them out and wrapped them in a wet towel to keep them cool. It was 11:a.m. but he was nearly ready now. He chipped ice into a milk bucket and wrapped it in wet burlap. This was for a surprise that he planned to pick up along the way. He’d called the park earlier and arranged to rent a canoe. He wanted to take her to one of the little islands in the park’s lake to make it a special time and so they could have some privacy and quiet. Ok, all set, it was time to go.
She hadn’t a clue what to fix for food. What did he like? There wasn’t much in the house, as her brother was constantly gorging on anything that was edible in the kitchen. Oh, well, just do your best with what ya got girl…, and hope for the best. She finished the sandwiches, wrapped them and put them in the bag with some potato chips. It would have to do.
A little earlier than he’d planned, he stopped in front of her house and started up the walk. She met him at the door and handed him the sack. “You really don’t want to go in there. My mother and brother are at war.” He nodded, took her hand and led her out to the car and they were off.
“Wow! Your car looks beautiful. You didn’t do all this just for me, did you?”
“Well, it isn’t just every weekend I take a beautiful girl for a picnic in the park, you know. I thought it should look at least clean for you.”
She smiled and slid over next to him. “I like that. No one’s ever done something just for me.”
They didn’t talk much on the way, which wasn’t very far. The park was only about six blocks from her house. It was a great place though, and somewhere fun to just hang out and spend some time. It had playground areas, pavilions and picnic areas, the lake and lagoon, and a public swimming area…, and a fairly large zoo which was always fun to visit.
It was quickly decided that they would eat first and then set out to enjoy the park. She took the blankets and her bag, he the rest of the things they would need and he led her to the canoe concession where she gave him a puzzled look. “No questions, at least right now. It’s a surprise.” With no further ado, he helped her into a bright red canoe, loaded their supplies, and pushed off. There was no wind and the lake was completely calm as he paddled them across the lagoon and to the west end of the lake where he knew of a small island with two nice shade trees that was just big enough for two people to have a nice quiet picnic. As they arrived and unloaded, she remarked…
“What’s in that bucket?”
They spread the blankets and he brought out two pillows and the cold pepsi as she unpacked napkins, sandwiches, and potato chips.
“What kind of sandwiches are we having?”
“It’s a surprise”, she smiled as she replied.
They decided to eat and then rest for a while. Afterwards they would return the canoe and explore the park and the zoo. She really liked zoos.
She handed him a sandwich and without even thinking, he took a large bite. “Wow, what kind of sandwich is this?” He held it up for a closer examination….”let’s see, peanut butter, mayo, cheese, and pickles (the bread ‘n’ butter kind). Never would have thought to put all this together.”
“Sorry, it’s all I could find in the house to make any kind of sandwich. You don’t like it…, do you?”
“Like it…, I think it’s great. I just never thought of all this in a peanut butter sandwich.”
“Well, I guess my secret’s out now. I love peanut butter…, and I make weird sandwiches.”
This began a discussion of peanut butter sandwiches that lasted through dinner. When that died down he went to the bucket and drew out two chocolate malts and handed her one along with a spoon and a straw. She looked up at him, surprised.
“How did you…..?”
“The bucket’s filled with ice and I picked them up just before I came for you.”
“You like malts?” He nodded. “So do I, Everyone usually gets milkshakes, but I like malts best. They have a nice rich taste…, better than milkshakes.”
He cleared everything and put the leftovers back in the bag and dumped the ice from the bucket into the lake. That done, he took a pillow and stretched out in the sun on the blanket. She closely followed suit, laying beside him and taking his hand. Both quickly dozed off in the warmth of the sun. In about an hour he woke to see her lying beside him, smiling, and studying him.
“C’mon, sleepyhead, let’s go see the zoo and see what kind of monkey business we can get into.”
As he pulled her to her feet, she raised up on her tiptoes and kissed him, looked thoughtfully at him, and kissed him again. This time he returned the kiss, but gave her a questioning look.
“I’ve had such a wonderful time. I like you a lot. This has been a perfectly wonderful day, like none I’ve ever had…, I’ll never forget it…, ever. I don’t think I’ve been so happy for such a long time… “
“I’m glad. I wanted it to be nice for you. You know…, you’re so beautiful when you smile…, and happy just spills out all over you.” With that, he put his arms around her and held her close. “I’m happy too….., now lets go monkey around at the zoo.”
They returned the canoe and took the blankets and leftovers to the car. He reached into the bag and took out the last peanut butter, cheese, pickle, mayo sandwich and she smiled. “Addictive, aren’t they?” He laughed and nodded, ” Yeah, they’re good. Want half?” She smiled and nodded and, with that, they headed for the zoo.
It really happened…, just that way !