Formerly Everyday Items Bottle Bygone Eras Now Posess a “WOW!” Element


Wind whips the hem
Of my polka dot dress up high
On my legs
While getting out of the car.
Summer afternoon
In Midwestern rural flatlands.

Corn fields, silos,
Old weepy trees
Dotting two-lane roads
Give the region a lush,
Desolate richness.

My 18-year old, now,
Carries in what is called
A hummingbird cake
Filled with fruit, spices and nuts.
We also bring a bland, washed out
Noodle “covered dish” that
I did not help make
To share at this family reunion.

Filing into a tightly constructed
Brick church built in 1905
By German Lutheran immigrants,
We’ve traveled far to get here
And have also gone back in time
In the process.

Inside, down in the basement
With bare concrete floors,
The air runs cool
As we socialize with white haired
Longtime residents
Born and raised in the area.
There are only two
Younger children present and
The two teens who came with me.
Everyone else smiles widely
With elderly good nature
And sighs heavily
In long draping jewelry
And sensible shoes.

Someone has brought a marvelous,
Old-time picnic basket
I’ve seen only in movies
About bygone life, never up-close.
I watch, with fascination,
The owner unpack it.

How much can a basket like that hold?
How did she acquire such a gem and
Where does a person get one now–

After she’s finished,
She leaves the basket by
The extra fold-out tables
And moves to another part of the room
To socialize or
To help with meal preparation.

Captivated, I inch closer
To examine the basket more closely.

Generous enough in size,
The basket can hold a full meal
Along with necessary supplies.
The outside is made with real wicker
Giving the basket flexibility
And pliability

Versus the stiff brittle material
Used to “weave” together newer
Williams Sonoma picnic baskets
People like to give
As wedding gifts but
That prove useless in the end
With their small size
And lopsided construction
Caused by 2 idle holes
Meant for holding
Wine bottles.

The inside and flat top
Are made of actual wood
Smooth and lightly polished
With antique luster.

For once, the container,
The vehicle used to
Carry and transfer food in
Holds my attention and interest
More than the food itself.

I have no idea what she brought.
Likely, I ate whatever it was
With little note or fanfare
Alongside the other
Soft casseroles, deviled eggs
And desserts with names
Like “dirt pudding”
Amid overeating generally
That day
Leaving me with a
Gnawing stomach ache.

But the basket–
Once, an everyday causal item
Thrown into the backseat
On route to a day’s outing,
Now contains a vintage
“Wow!” element that

Harkens images of
Steampunk folks
Making hasty escapes
In hot air balloons
At the turn of the century
Or of southern American belles
And gents romancing
Under huge shaded oaks
During the 1950’s–
Remains on my mind
And makes me smile.



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