“The Picnic” or “Like My Daddy”
by Jeff Allen Young
It was late in the night when Daddy woke me up.
He said that we were to go on a grand adventure,
to the most beautiful picnic spot.
I asked how long it would take-
again, it was late in the night.
He knelt down to my level,
“Son, this journey is far, far more important than its destination.”
He rubbed my hair and told me to hurry.
I put on my day clothes,
found my cap,
but I couldn’t find my jacket-
the one with the yellow star.
We have to wear it,
all the Jews have to.
who knows where everything is in the house,
jacket in hand,
and helped me put it on.
Now we were all set for our picnic.
This spot surely must be the world’s most perfect picnic spot,
and we would get there before everyone else.
My Momma lifted me into her arms and Daddy carried the pack.
But, before we left, he looked at me and said,
“This is no ordinary journey.”
I looked at him with questions as he continued,
“Oh, no. This is a magical journey.
In order to get to our picnic spot, we have to do a few things.
First we have to be utterly silent.”
I hated being quiet.
I asked him how long we had to be this way.
He said we had to be completely silent while in town. When we left town,
he would give me the next clue to follow.
As we left the house and wandered through alleys, I pretended we were magic mice, trying to find our way out of some mean lady’s house.
I buried my mouth in my Mom’s ear and whispered, “Squeak squeak.”
She nodded as she put her finger to my lips.
My Momma always knew what I was thinking.
Sometimes she would tell me not to do something-
and I wouldn’t even be in the same room as her!
I wondered why we couldn’t just walk out on the main road.
It was probably because that would be too easy.
Daddy always liked a challenge.
We were walking down one of the alleys when Momma grabbed me tight and pressed our bodies against the alley wall. She covered my mouth as she whispered in my ear, “Beware the cats.”
She pointed to men approaching with guns.
My heart beat fast.
I wasn’t scared though, I was brave.
I was like my Daddy.
As we sank deeper into the shadows,
I did exactly as my Daddy said.
I was silent.
The only sound I could hear was the glass crunching under the men’s feet.
They walked slowly.
As they came closer
my Momma held me tighter
They were just a few feet from us;
I could see their breath.
Just then I discovered that my Daddy was right!
This truly was a magical journey!
We must have been invisible.
The men pointed their guns straight at us, but they didn’t see us!
A few minutes later the cats left-
tricked by the magic mice.
My Daddy came out of his hiding place and Momma followed.
They gave each other a big kiss.
My friends say they look away when that happens,
but I liked that my Momma and Daddy were in love.
I lost track of where we were.
We wound back and forth;
hid and ran.
We did this for a very
The sky started to turn from black to dark blue.
I couldn’t understand why we weren’t out of town yet-
we had been moving all night.
We walked through piles of trash and other smelly things,
went under a fence,
and went down another alleyway.
I leaned back from my Momma’s shoulder and looked at her face.
She looked sad.
Probably because she was tired of carrying me.
She looked at me and whispered,
“We’re almost there,
I’m so proud of you baby.”
The alley we were walking down was the longest one we’d traveled all night.
I got excited again.
as we went further,
I saw that we were going down a dead end.
My Daddy’s walk quickened as we reached the far side of the alley.
There was a very big pile of garbage,
and a very bad smell to go with it.
My daddy went to the trash pile and started to dig.
I would have helped him, but I was getting a little sleepy.
He pulled out a long rope, and then started motioning for Momma to come to him.
The sky was getting lighter.
Momma set me down as she went to see what Daddy needed.
As I looked around me,
I couldn’t help but wonder where the beautiful picnic spot was going to be.
Maybe we took a wrong turn.
Maybe I didn’t follow the magic rule well enough.
I heard my Daddy groan a little as he lifted a sewer lid from the concrete.
He then tied one end of the rope to a pipe coming out of the wall,
and dropped the other end down into the hole.
I looked into the opening and shivered at the thought of falling in.
Again, I looked up at Daddy with questions.
He grabbed me and held me tight as he whispered the next clue in my ear.
He set me down and kissed Momma.
We all hugged.
Momma lowered herself slowly down into the hole,
into the darkness.
I followed after her,
only one tear rolled down my cheek.
As Daddy slid the lid over us, I reached up at him.
He couldn’t see me,
but if he could, he would be proud.
I was like him.
I was brave.
I was like my Daddy.