September afternoons are excellent for picnics.

Even Aunt Mary knew this, so she suggested Jane and Irene plan a picnic for Grace's shower. Grace was nineteen and had been engaged to Louis Morgan, whose father operated Morgan's Bank, for three years while he went to college. In October she was getting married. To me, the wedding of beautiful Grace was anti-climatic; for so many years she had loomed before me as the ideal of feminity, bound for the most romantic of fates, but Louis didn't seem like much of a prince to me. He already seemed to be losing his hair, and he scratched his head a lot.

Jane's house was in town, so she decided to have the event at our house, on the maple-shaded lawn behind the barn. As the day grew closer I convinced her to lead the group across the cornfield to a charming spot by the stream that bordered our land, a little grove of apple trees that separated the cornfields from the undeveloped woods beyond. Jane and Irene were making cakes and pies a week in advance. The morning of the picnic, I helped her put together thirty finger sandwhiches and a gallon bowl of fruit salad for the twenty guests. Aunt Mary gave us four gingham tablecloths to spread on the ground and helped us back to my house.

We must have had a really nice time for the first hour of the picnic. Then, it started to rain. It rained lilke it meant it. Everyone panicked, and ran back towards the house, grabbing the gifts Grace had just cooingly unwrapped. It took about five minutes to reach the house, which was time enough for the sneaky atorm to thoroughly drench us all. Crowded into my kitchen, Grace's friends snatched at the towels Peter had brought them. Jane looked about to cry, and Grace, though her charm was mostly unruffled by the shower on her shower, didn't look so glamourous with her hair flat to her head and a mascara stain on her blouse.

I went back outside, saying I wanted to fetch the rest of the picnic materials. I was barefoot now and I ran familiar ground. I got to the scene of the shower and laughed at soaked sandwiches and muddy crepe paper. I liked the feel of the rain on my face.

Gladness of the heart is the life of a man, and the joyfulness of a man prolongeth his days.