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Families make memories with holiday picnics

Families make memories with holiday picnics

Some families pack hamburgers and hotdogs for the perfect Memorial Day picnic. But for one Halfmoon
Families make memories with holiday picnics
Picnicking at Saratoga Spa State Park, Gus Sahota, left, visiting from Connecticut, joins local family members Sanjay Taneja and Manvir Dhillon as they ready a grill.
Photographer: Bruce Squiers

Some families pack hamburgers and hotdogs for the perfect Memorial Day picnic. But for one Halfmoon family, the picnic wouldn’t be complete without a bag of broken glass.

The Arzoumanian family set up their picnic just feet away from a bend of the stream at the Saratoga Spa State Park. Then, while the parents supervised from their lawn chairs, the children waded out with thick flipflops and an empty plastic bag.

After much work, they returned triumphantly with a heavy bag of shards that could have ripped the feet of the many children and dogs playing in the water.

“Last year, we saw all the glass in the water,” explained Janette Arzoumanian, 11. “A lot of people come and they like to wade and swim. The glass, it’s broken glass, it has sharp edges. I want to at least try to get most of it out.”

Last year, her parents found an empty bag for her to fill. This time, they came prepared.

It’s more than just a momentary chore. Younger sister Jillian, 8, was so enthusiastic about it that she told her family that’s what she was looking forward to doing once they got to the park.

“She couldn’t stop talking about it,” Janette said.

Their parents were thrilled.

“They do something that’s useful,” father John Arzoumanian said, adding that it’s nice to watch them working together rather than bickering.

“We can sit back and watch and relax,” mother Mary Arzoumanian said.

Achieving relaxation was the name of the game Monday. For Keren Yaari, the best route to a perfect picnic was to tire out the children as quickly as possible. That meant staying outdoors.

“It gets them tired much faster,” she said, adding that she’s sick of the indoors. “We’ve been indoors all winter, so it’s about time.”

The memories she is building for her children may influence the way they seek out peace and quiet for the rest of their lives.

Anna Zrini still picnics with her children — now in their 60s — because of the wonderful memories they shared at picnics many decades ago.

“I love it because my parents used to take us,” daughter LaVerne Grimshaw said. “We lived in Queens. It was one of our favorite things. Now it brings all those happy memories.”

Daughter Carol Christensen loves it so much that she asked her family to organize a birthday picnic for her this year, rather than taking her to a restaurant. She’ll be 64 on Thursday, and her mother and sister will do the grilling while she relaxes with a magazine.

The plan is to spend as much time reading as possible.

“We enjoy just sitting around, reading and relaxing,” Anna Zrini said, adding that the keys to the perfect picnic are a lawn chair and a good book.

“Just sitting around,” she said.

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