Many years ago my mom began a summer picnic tradition. First it was a day at my parents’ summer place in Indiana. As our family grew, we moved the party to a nearby camp ground and it became a two-day affair. We continue the two-day tradition today with 50+ adults and children, all relatives on my paternal side, gathering at the home of one of my brothers. Families begin arriving late morning. As the day progresses so too do the number of pitched tents. Rain or shine we have a good time. My dad and aunt are the patriarch and matriarch. They sit on the deck at the top of the hill watching the activities below. Throughout the day various kids or adults join them for conversation, refreshments, and laughter. Those of my generation, our children, and their children provide continuous entertainment for those sitting on the deck. We are busy with our shenanigans on land and water. At my brother’s house there’s a pontoon, wave runner, canoe, and lots of land where everyone can pitch their tents or participate in the games. There’s impromptu and organized game play. Most of the games start mid-day and run throughout the day and evening. Each family provides food and drinks. Communal grilling and picnic-table dining occur late afternoon followed by more water sports and game play. The little ones search the stream and lakefront for bull frogs during the day and lightening bugs once it gets dark. Adults compete in baggo tournaments or extreme Frisbee competitions. Kids hold hula hoop contests, play with water balloons, enjoy the sand toys as they build castles or bury each other. As the sun sets, everyone gets out their bug spray, gathers around the fire pit and either sings along with music or listens to one of my brother’s play guitar. Generally it is just a full day of good old fashioned family fun. There’s usually a birthday or other special event to celebrate. It is a day where nothing is planned and yet everything has a rhythm to it. This year the weather hindered some of the activities, but certainly not the fun. While we were forced to forego the kids’ games, the Ty Beanie Babies intended as prizes came in handy as a distraction once the children had to move indoors. And when the storms crashed the party and some of the tents, it was the laser pop projector candies that were the hit of the evening as the kids entertained themselves with lips, hearts, aliens and “Ur the Best” illuminations on the bedroom ceiling. Yep, thanks to a shopping spree at Card & Party Giant, everyone had a great time even while the rain poured down and the winds howled outside. Family made it special. The summer party accessories added to the fun!