We are back from Tennessee, where the scenery basically looks like this. I thought as we drove through the mountains that our Regency characters would have been amazed at the endless trees of the Shenandoah, the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Alleghenies.

The family reunion picnic was lovely. We met family we’d never met before and saw folks we had not seen for years. Here we are. All except me, because I’m taking this photo (deliberately distant to protect the family’s privacy) but you can see how many of us came and how lush the picnic area was.

But I got to thinking about the differences in picnics from the Regency time to now . Our picnic was in a public park, not on the grounds of a country estate. We did not have tents erected for shelter from the sun, but the abundant Tennessee trees did a great job of shading our spot. We lugged our own chairs in our own cars and the food was not brought in by servants in horse drawn wagons, rather it arrived in a big SUV. The caterers were certainly not dressed in livery but in Tshirts and bermuda shorts. We ate hot dogs and hamburgers off styrofoam plates and drank (Regency characters may shudder here) iced tea.

There were games for the children – wheelbarrow races, potato sack races, nothing like the decorous maypole dance depicted here.

But I suspect, then as now, we had a wonderful time. The gathering of family and friends is mostly so.

I gave away some of my books. Most of the relatives did not know there was a romance author in the fam. One of my husband’s cousins will be in Dallas at the same time as the Romance Writers Conference and she might come to the booksigning (July 11 5:30 to 7:30 at the Hyatt Regency in Dallas)!

Any family gatherings this summer for any of you? Any family reunion horror stories? Anyone planning to be at the RWA conference or the booksigning?

Maypole image from Jessamyn’s costume pages
Emma photo from the movie Emma