We drove a couple miles into the national forest and eventually came to Stan and Rose Mary's favorite picnic spot. We unloaded the trunk, set up our chairs, and had lunch right on time. Lunch is always at 12:30. Lunch is always a sandwich. A cookie always follows the sandwich, and an apple always follows the cookie. In other words, this was a completely routine lunch.
When the sun slipped behind the clouds, or rather, when the clouds passed between the sun and us, it did get a little chilly. After lunch, Stan got his binoculars and his journals from the car and moved his chair to a spot beneath a couple Ponderosa pines to nap. No matter what is happening, Stan always naps after lunch. Me and Rose Mary kept our chairs where they were and chatted about the clouds. Rose Mary is the best cloud chatter in the world. You can say, That cloud looks like a man with a terrible case of poison ivy, and she will laugh her head off and run with it. Eventually I decided to get up and have a look around. I followed the creek for about a hundred yards and turned around to have a look at the spot where I'd eaten my sandwich. If you look really closely, you can see a little tan speck beneath the pines in the foreground on the right. That's Stan having his nap.
It was a bit too chilly at times—today was the day I decided to do laundry, and so my picnic included a slightly damp flannel and no socks—but still it was the best damn picnic I've ever had. It was a long one, too. I got back to my chair and chatted with Rose Mary some more. I found a blanket in the car and covered me feet. Rose Mary hollered to Stan, Stan, I'm getting cold and I'm getting old. Stan hollered back, It'll be much warmer in the car. This ordinary lunch was turning into a kind of marathon session of looking at pretty mountains. I took another hike, toward the parking lot and the outhouse, and decided to build a town.
Stan is not the sort who drives into the mountains, has a quick picnic, catches a quick nap, and then drives back out, so I knew I had some time on my hands. There were lots of stones in the parking lot. I started building my town on the precipice of one of the boulders that surrounded the lot. I built the dwelling in the foreground and looked back toward our picnic spot: we were obviously not leaving. I built the dwelling in the background. We were still not leaving. I built another, smaller town, a shabbier one, on an adjacent boulder. Still not leaving. Eventually I had built a small metropolis. There were poor neighborhoods and rich neighborhoods. There was even a place where townspeople could go when they got tired of being townspeople. When we were all back in the car I told Rose Mary that I had built a town. My town is called Parking Lot Heights, I said. You're a city boy, Rose Mary said. And perhaps I am. I did build a town when I had had enough of the mountains. It was a great picnic. We didn't see another soul the whole time we were there.