Teddy Bears' Picnic

If you go out in the woods today
You're sure of a big surprise.
If you go out in the woods today
You'd better go in disguise.

For every bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain, because
Today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic.

When I was about thirteen, my aunt gave me an album of children's songs that would have been a more appropriate gift had I been at least five years younger.  The album cover illustrated the title song, The Teddy Bears' Picnic.

In spite of my age, I was intrigued enough to play the record, and now admit that I fell in love with, not only the melody and lyrics of the song, but with the idea of a gathering of faux-fur, woodland creatures, frolicking about on a carpet of checkered tablecloths.

I don't know what happened to that album, and I'd forgotten almost entirely about that little song, until I found myself absent-mindedly humming it a few days ago, while reviewing photos from a recent family gathering.

Who doesn't love a picnic?  I suppose there are those few poor, antiseptic souls, that prefer their meals served on sterile plates in a climate controlled environment, that shudder at the idea of swatting flies from the potato salad.  I'm not one of them.

I love to eat outdoors!  As a child, indoor mealtime meant, sitting squarely in a chair, left hand resting passively in my lap, fork held firmly in my right hand.

There was no squirming about, no sniffing or poking at what was served.  We were not invited to share our opinion about the boiled Brussel sprouts, or salmon cakes, but were expected to eat whatever was placed before us, without sniggering, gagging or crying.

Picnic time for teddy bears,
The little teddy bears are having a lovely time today. 
Watch them, catch them unawares,
And see them picnic on their holiday.

See them gaily dance about.
They love to play and shout.
And never have any cares.
At six o'clock their mommies and daddies
Will take them home to bed
Because they're tired little teddy bears.

Once or twice a year, my grandparents would host a family picnic. It was heaven.  Rules of etiquette, and table manners were suspended for the day, and nobody seemed to care whether we cleaned our plates, asked for seconds, or used a napkin.

There were giant, ice-filled metal tubs, containing individual-serving-sized glass bottles of pop in every flavor imaginable - orange, grape, cherry, strawberry, root-beer, lemon-lime, cream soda. We could have whatever we liked, and as many as we wanted.  Nobody cared!

After supper, they cut the watermelon which had spent the day in a requisite ice-packed cooler.  My brother, cousins and I, sat cross-legged in the grass, slurping melon, and spitting the slippery black seeds at one another.

At about the time we finished tossing our watermelon rind in the bushes, the fireflies began to flit across the yard, and we clamored for glass jars.

Dusk came and went, and nobody seemed to notice that we were still outside, running with sticks and glass jars (somebody might have put an eye out, but never did), pushing and shoving, laughing and shouting.  We wore the remains of the day on our upper lips - ketchup and mustard, red-pop and grape-soda.  Tattered and torn, we were kids at a picnic.

Every teddy bear, that's been good
Is sure of a treat today
There's lots of wonderful things to eat
And wonderful games to play

Beneath the trees, where nobody sees
They'll hide and seek as long as they please
Today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic.

Once a year, Rick and I host a picnic for our extended family. Everyone brings a dish to share, and an ice-filled cooler with beverages.  We play horseshoes, and washers, toss the football around, listen to old rock and roll, and today's country.  We eat, we drink and we make merry together.

The children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews, play in the creek, eat and drink whatever they want, run with sticks and glass jars, push, shout, laugh, and learn (really learn) what it means to be FAMILY.

In retrospect, perhaps my aunt's gift to me, all those years ago, wasn't as inappropriate as it appeared.  I believe she was sending me a message, you're never to old, to be young at heart! Grrrrrr!

If you go out in the woods today,
You'd better not go alone.
Its lovely out in the woods today,
But safer to stay at home.

For every bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain, because
Today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic.

A Teddy Bears' Picnic was composed by John Walter Bratton (1907); lyrics are by Jimmy Kennedy (1932).

Photos taken by Mrs. Green Jeans, Farm Fresh Photos, 2011.


  1. Yeah for the family picnic! I look forward to it all year long. Thanks so much for having these get-togethers. I know that a certain someone up in heaven is smiling down on you even more because of it.

  2. ditto what Brooke said and I love the ring pop picture with the twinks.

    I'm a fan of the family picnic minus the bugs. ;) hey every picnic needs a princess, right? - (she says as she digs the dirt out from under her fingernails after a morning spent planting grass and flowers in the front yard)