Despite how much I complain about moving from beautiful Cache Valley to this dumpy town, there is one thing here that my home town doesn't have, and that is . . . (drumroll please) . . . Lunch at the Park! It's a summer lunch program sponsored by the school district. Every Monday thru Friday during summer break, kids (under 18) can get a sack lunch at the park absolutely free!
Here's how it usually happens. We head to the park (there are about 10 participating parks in town, we choose the closest, which is only a mile away) at around 11:00 am. We play on the equipment, eagerly awaiting the arrival of "the lunch truck". We hear a honk on the horn and turn to see it coming around the corner. As it drives to the pavillion, throngs of children (most of them quite young, with parents in tow) gather and form a crooked line, eagerly awaiting thier lunches. My kids squirm and wiggle as I try to keep them in line (the kids themselves have to get thier lunches- you can't stand in line and get it for them while they play). We finally make it up to the front. My three year old proudly gets his brown paper bag and opens it up himself. I hold my one year old and his paper bag in one arm, using my free hand to grab the goods and drop them into each boy's bag. They each get one carton of milk (chocolate or white), one carton of juice (to my delight it's 100% fruit juice, not the corn syrup-filled Tampico I was served in school), one bag of chips (usually Sun Chips or Baked Cheetos), one side (applesauce, fruit leather, or pudding) and then the main dish (choice of a hot entree like chicken nuggets, corn dog, cheeseburger, or old reliable cold ham and turkey sandwhich). We thank the lunch workers and take our now bulging brown paper bags to find the perfect spot to eat. Sometimes we choose a table in the shade; today we chose a sunny spot on the grass to sit and have our picnic. Once the kids are done, I finish off thier left-overs (wouldn't want to waste food, would we?), and then we go play some more. If ever I'm really hungry (like I was yesterday), I shell out $3.00 and get a lunch for myself.
We've gone every day this week, and plan on making it a regular thing throughout the summer. It's perfect: free food, fresh air, exercise, and the best part, no dishes! Maybe this place isn't so bad after all . . .