18 July 2008

Gypsy Picnic and How Not to Make Friends on the Grass

There is something beautiful about picnics -- being at one with nature, not having to worry if the main course is still hot, and not having to clear the table when you're done. Yesterday evening, some friends and I went to the Dallas Arboretum for a picnic at the most ineptly named outdoor summer concert series around -- "Cool Thursday". Everyone knows that in Dallas in July, there ain't NOTHIN' cool. But this is not about the weather. It's about food, friends, and fun.

The Arboretum is situated on the shore on Dallas' beautiful White Rock Lake. The natural amphitheater there slopes steeply from a historic mansion with a commanding view of the lake down to the nearly-water-front stage, with trees lining the perimeter on 3 sides. We arrived early to stake out a shady spot along the perimeter and set up shop a stone's throw from stage right. In tow were coolers brimming with a variety of home/hand-made cold (intentionally) soup, finger sandwiches, and potato salad (thank you, Paul!), along with the requisite store-bought fare of cheeses, crackers, fruits, and wines.

As we gobbled goodies, waiting for the sun to set and the concert to commence, other attendees arrived and we were soon surrounded by other patrons in our partial shade. And that's where the "how not to make friends on the grass" part comes in. I will offer this advice (and accompanying photo): If you're gonna park it on the pasture in front of somebody, don't park it in a lawn chair.

The featured band on this blazingly "cool" evening was The Texas Gypsies. The music was Texas swing with a ballad or two thrown in for variety. By the close of the second set, the "buffer zone" between the lawn and the stage was filled with kids and adults swingin' the night away. Cool indeed.

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