The Milando family awaited the beginning of the school year with mixed feelings. Arturo couldnâ€™t wait for school to begin. He had made the varsity soccer team and was eager to get out on the field. Schoolwork came easy to him, and he never dreaded the start of a new year. Cesar was just as bright but less focused. He wished the summer would go on forever.Celia, their mom, knew sheâ€™d miss the unpressured family time they had during the summer. She wasnâ€™t looking forward to another over-scheduled school year, but she was looking forward to more time to devote to her fledgling art gallery. So when her effervescent friend, Margit, called with one of her characteristic great ideas, Celia was ready to jump on board.
â€œLetâ€™s have one last, terrific, blow-out, end-of-summer picnic. Weâ€™ll invite all the kidsâ€™ friends, all our friends, our book group, everyone. Weâ€™ll give the summer one big good-bye party,â€ said Margit, in what seemed like one breath.
â€œCount me in,â€ said Celia. â€œItâ€™s got to be beautiful. Casual but beautiful. Iâ€™ll be the artistic director.â€
While Margit was lining up great food, Celia was planning the decorations. Borrowing an idea she had seen at a recent wedding, she got gorgeous imported sarongs as tablecloths for all the picnic tables. She splurged for some extras and hung them along the fence to provide both privacy and beauty. Still other sarongs served as picnic blankets.
When the day of the picnic arrived, Celia was up at the crack of dawn decorating the picnic area. It was a riot of color. All the guests oohâ€™d and aahâ€™d as they arrived with gourmet food and drinks. Two guests were in a band together, and live music rounded out the afternoon. People grabbed sarongs as impromptu costumes and danced to the music.
â€œIsnâ€™t this the best picnic ever?â€ Celia and Margit kept saying to each other. The departing guests all said, â€œLetâ€™s do it again next year!â€
Taking down the sarongs, it dawned on Celia that she could use them to decorate her art gallery. â€œThey really are works of art,â€ she said to Margit as she folded the last one.