Ozark Picnic

    “Ozark Picnic,” New Era, Oct. 1980, 46

    Ozark Picnic

    The branch in Ozark, Alabama, had a picnic. That’s not earth-shattering news, of course, and that’s just the point. It was so ordinary, and so typical, and so comfortable, and so Mormon, and so unobtrusively happy that ten years from now no one will quite be able to remember what they did or quite able to forget how they felt.

    Already it’s hard to remember anything but the outlines; the details are fading. It’s becoming no more than a cameo of sunshine—old friends’ faces in relief against sun-filled grass.

    There was softball, volleyball, a bake auction for the building fund, and the picnic, of course, with the usual casseroles, chicken, salads, watermelons, and wieners for starters, and some homemade root beer so good that it deserves a small memorial somewhere.

    Afterwards there was a greased-pig contest and a tug o’ war. Perhaps that’s the part the young people will remember best, so that’s the part we photographed. Photos can’t compare with remembering, of course, because they can’t mellow and improve and take on perspective with age, but they’re all we’ve got, so they’ll have to do.

    It was good that ordinary afternoon to be young and alive and LDS in the sunshine in Alabama.

    Photo by Melvin Leavitt