Charles Phoenix’s Slide of the Week: The Picnic, Southern California, 1960

The Picnic, Southern California, 1960

Daddy holds up a can of Schlitz beer like the statue of liberty holds the flame. Cheers! Perhaps he’s already had a couple. The lady on the right cheers a little less enthusiastically with a pretty pink paper cup. Her nails and lips are painted red like the redhead on the right smoking a cigarette with one hand and holding a lovely little girl with the other. Little Blondie is looking at grandma who’s looking at the buzz cut little boy held by grandpa who’s the only one staring into outer space and not wearing white. The little boy is picking his nose. Grandma’s initials are embroidered on her breast pocket. The handkerchief in that pocket matches her turquoise earrings. She tweezes her brows. The redhead does not.

A large, leafy, multi-level, floral arrangement dominates the tablescape. It is inspired like no other flower arrangement I’ve ever seen yet does not diminish the presence of the capped carafe, fresh veggies, covered aluminum pot, two jars of whole peaches and another can of Schlitz Beer sitting in front of an open box of Ritz Crackers.

I’ve always seriously loved Ritz Crackers. They’ve got the flaky-fatty-flavorful thing going on like no other cracker I’ve ever cracked. The saltier-than-sweet scalloped-edge taste treat sensations with seven little peep holes in it has been an Americana classic since they were first introduced in 1935. And I’m devastated to have to say it, but I will, I’ve never had that legendary Ritz Cracker concoction, mock apple pie. Have you?

Here’s to cheers, wear-white picnic parties, Ritz Crackers and YOU!

Charles Phoenix

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