Have you ever wondered how quickly the 15 first come, first served picnic areas in Rock Creek Park fill up on Labor Day?

My friends and I decided to try to throw a picnic in Rock Creek Park, Washington, D.C. on Labor Day. When we arrived at the park just shy of noon, we were surprised to find there were still a few open spots.

We ended up picking a shaded, semi-secluded picnic area near the equestrian ring. We spread out our food and the table clothes on two picnic tables.

During our meal there were horses and riders trotting along the path near our picnic benches and in the nearby equestrian ring. Here I am watching a horse and rider.  This rider reminded me of Kathleen Ojala, a close family friend who died of cancer about 10 years ago. Kathleen raised, bred and showed Arabian horses. I grew up riding and grooming them.

 It’s amazing how little things can make you really miss someone.
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Then we set up two grilling areas. We had a small grill for the top of the alter-like structure. Dave kept a good eye on the food.

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And when the coals cooled down a few hours later, Jessica and I got a little crazy with the lighter fluid.

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We also set up a grill behind the concrete structure by using large rocks. This one served to be the best to grill on and it stayed super hot for hours.

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We had more meat than our crew could possibly eat. There were eight steaks, more than a dozen chicken legs, corn on the cob, tomato slices, beef hot dogs and plenty of cool beverages. Oh and Anthony made some killer hot salsa from scratch. Yum yum.

You know you are good friends and comfortable with each other when everyone brings a book, magazine or newspaper to read during down times. Our crew is pretty relaxed about grilling out.

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Pictured from left: Anthony, Esther, Chris and Jessica. Photos by Dave.

All in all, it was a quiet and peaceful place to visit with friends and gorge on good food. For anyone who doesn’t want to grill out in the back yard, I highly recommend checking out Rock Creek Park.

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