Wednesday, May 5, 2010

ABC Wednesday--P is for...

ABC Wednesday--P is for a Purple Picnic

Do you have a special way of remembering friends? For me, each summer, and for some of my quilting buddies, it's a purple picnic.

So, you may wonder, how does one have a purple picnic and why?

Here is the story behind it. One September, my friend Grace and I were getting together to do a Shop Hop. A Shop Hop is a sort of quilters' frenzy, where quilt shops in a region have a weekend where they team together for special deals, contests, patterns, drawings. And quilters go in a frenzy from one shop to the next to look for the clues, the freebies, and the special patterns designed for the event. It may be something only an addicted quilter can understand.

Grace lived her life in a wheelchair. In the last few years it was a motorized wheelchair, after nearly a year in the hospital. She was ready for some adventure. A full shop hop was more than she would be able to handle, but a few of the shops on my side of the mountain where the Shop Hop covered quite a few miles and only 13 shops was a lot different than the more than 50 along the I-5 corridor.

While planning our excursion, we thought of Debi, a friend not too far off our route who was going through some rough times and we decided to drop in on her. We would arrive in her town close to lunchtime, so we decided to pack a picnic and bring it along, and if Debi wasn't up to a spontaneous visit, we could take it to the park.

I'd brought a batik tablecloth home from my trip to India and had never had a chance to use it. And it was purple. I said I would bring my purple tablecloth and exuberantly, Grace declared, "We can have a purple picnic!" We then set out to plan all the purple we could think of. That first purple picnic (Debi did welcome our visit.) included purple potato chips, purple pop, purple plums, purple gift bags of purple goodies for each of us, including Debi's son. Even a purple toy or something--don't remember what--for Debi's little dog and Grace's service dog, Landrum. We had a delightful lunch, cheerful catching up on everything, and Grace and I were on our way to continue our shopping.

The following year, sadly, Grace suffered a massive stroke and passed away. Some of us were gathered for a quilting weekend, and we had planned a purple picnic, this time adding cold borscht and purple paper plates, purple plastic tableware, and purple napkins to our picnic items. The picnic became a memorial to Grace as we remembered her always witty rejoinders, her faith in what she could accomplish despite her health issues, and her ability to always cheer each of us up.

The purple picnic became an annual tradition, and each year since, at least one person in our group has had a purple picnic in memory of Grace. The one pictured was shared last summer on a camping trip.

When Grace passed away, we remembered what she always said--that one day she would dance---dance with the angels.

Now our purple picnics will honor both Grace and Debi, who passed away earlier this year  after a long bout with emphysema.
                      Grace                                                                                                Debi

Do you want to have a purple picnic? Here are some purple foods to consider: purple potato chips, blue corn tortilla chips (which are actually purple), cornbread from blue cornmeal (available at a health food store), potato salad from blue or purple potatoes. borscht, grapes, plumes, grape soda, grape jelly, purple jelly beans, pickled beets,....maybe you could add some more.....

ABC Wednesday
Founded by Denise
Continues each week with the help of a team at the ABC site.


Paulie said...

I smiled the first time I heard this story and it brought smiles to my face again today. . . as you added the second lady to your memory list. You done good!

Tumblewords: said...

A perfect memory holder and tribute to well-loved friends.

*♥Shydub♥* said...

That food are sure tastes great. Thats the neat thing about picnic all the food eaten outside taste good.

photowannabe said...

What a delightful memorial and tradition. I might have to incorporate it into something for my friends too. Thanks for sharing your heartfelt picnic.

Roger Owen Green said...

This is a lovely story, and a great tradition. Grape juice!

ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Ann said...

It is a good way to remember friends who have gone to dance with angels.

Troy said...

When I saw your picture, I was prepared for a light fluffy post about Pepsi and purple and plates.

Instead, I got a heart warming story about friendship, optimism and love.

What a pleasant surprise!

On behalf of the ABC Wednesday Team, Thanks for participating this week. Hope you can join us again next week.


Liz said...

What a fantastic way to remember dear friends!

That Shop Hop sounds amazing - if you're a quilter!

Day Dreamer said...

Our loved ones are never gone as long as they live in our hearts. The joy they shared is timeless.

Julie said...

This brought tears to my eyes since I was with you when we learned about Grace and Debi was my best friend. Thank you for such an awesome tribute. Don't forget the huckelberries for the purple picnic!