A Rooftop Picnic: Where memories are made.


It was such a fine fall afternoon that we decided to have an impromptu party on the front porch.

A drink and mixed nuts party.

Little wine for me; soft drink for the little wife.

So we collected a couple of glasses and the drinks and some packages of nuts and got Milady the Cat and settled down on the front porch.

Wife in the porch swing, Milady stretched out on her own special “throne,” I in the rocking chair.

My wife and I sipped and we crunched.

And we sipped and we crunched.

Chatting about nothing in particular, everything in general.

Roger Summers
Roger Summers

Watching Milady the Cat – now lured from her throne and into a chase by a teasing, playful squirrel that seemed to be saying, “Ha, ha, you can’t catch me!” And, just like all of the chases before, the squirrel was right.

And then we noticed something out of the ordinary for a Sunday afternoon.

A man and a woman were up on the roof of a house across the street.

A child, maybe three or four, was up there with them.

The couple had been putting a new roof on the house in recent days.

So, this being a fine autumn day, they were up there again, steadily using their air hammer to continue putting down the roof.

Pssshhh, pssshhh, pssshhh, went the air hammer.

The child entertained himself.

We sipped and we crunched.

We sipped and we crunched.

That’s when something else a little out of the ordinary caught my eye. Or ear.

The pssshhh, pssshhh, pssshhhing had stopped.

All was quiet again.

Then I said, “Lookit, they’re setting up for a picnic.”

Up on the rooftop.

From containers, the woman pulled food item after food item, carefully placing the food on what looked like towels which she had formed into something of a picnic tablecloth.

They sat down on the roof, the three of them.

The child seemed filled with laughter.

Surely smiles filled the faces of all three.

Happily, leisurely, they ate and they drank.

And they ate and they drank.

We sipped and we crunched.

We sipped and we crunched.

After a while, the couple went back to roofing.

And the child went back to entertaining himself.

We’ve picnicked by mountain streams, in parks large and small both here and across the pond, outside centuries-old castles and churches, out of the trunk of the car, elsewhere. We’ve seen picnic food eaten with fingers and plastic ware and, yes, even with fine silver service at a “layby” in the English countryside.

But on a rooftop?

Maybe the couple and the child were on to something.

Maybe once in a while, in a special moment of whimsy, we need to take a peek at life from a different vantage point.

So, maybe the next time we decide on an impromptu drink and nuts party on a fine fall afternoon, we’ll get out the ladder, climb up to the roof, sip a little drink, munch on some snacks and see how the world looks from up there.

Because, from our place on the front porch, watching the three of them enjoying themselves at their rooftop picnic, it had the pleasant look of one of those tranquil, cherished moments from which fond, joyous, lasting memories are made.

Washboard RoadRoger Summers is a journalist and essayist who spends time in Texas, New Mexico and England and in a world of curiosity and creativity. He can be reached at [email protected]

Please click the book cover image to read more about the short story collection of Roger Summers.

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