Recreating a roadside “picknicken”…

Rosenberger family

If it’s one thing that remains constant in numerous historical photographs of my ancestors, they enjoyed the outdoors and with automobiles becoming more plentiful, they would always take to the road wearing their Sunday best. Of course, I will never know where their planned destination was, but guaranteed, they always stopped to eat watermelon, whether it be a ditch located on the side of the road, or a nice forested area, picnicking was a big part of their life…

Grandpa Rosenber and family

Truth be told, I do love picnics, but I don’t “practice” them on a regular basis, definitely not like my ancestors.  For generations families have enjoyed picnics in some form or another; it makes for a perfect social gathering.


This ideology was solidified this past summer when we decided to celebrate the Fourth of July in Goodyear/Phoenix, Arizona. Considering the stifling temperatures that encompassed the area, residents still came out in droves to capture the spectacle of various firework performances. Residents parked their vehicles in fields that paralleled the road and they would either jump on the roof of their vehicles or sit in their open trunks. Periodically, I would see a food vendor rolling his cart down the field offering up goodies for the spectators; it was an amazing site to be seen.


After looking back at my family pictures and reminiscing about the Fourth of July, I decided that I wanted to recreate this in my own backyard, well I should say, Alberta backyard.  So, my son and I went to find a collapsing table that would fit in our car, added two collapsing chairs, plus some food, and we were off to find a ditch to recreate part of my ancestor’s lifestyle.


Did we find a spot? You bet, down some lonely dead-end dirt road south of the town of Langdon, Alberta.  Our view, a field full of cattle with the added backdrop of farmers combining their fall harvest.  It was perfect, well minus the watermelon.  Considering it was a dead-end, there was more traffic than anticipated, probably because the farmers had never seen the likes and had their hired-hands get a closer look, one even brought their dog!

Sadly, the seasons are changing and as the fall colours slowly fade into our forever-long winter, I will keep my picnic supplies ready for next spring, I will make my ancestors proud, well, minus my Sunday best.

Categories: Around Alberta, The Unusual...

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5 replies

  1. It seems that you and your ancestors are picnicking in very similar landscape, looking out onto the prairies. Cool!

  2. Interesting juxtaposition of the need for modern appliances like foldable tables and chairs versus the simplicities of the past—lunch and the ground.

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