Sometimes a little rain helps a picnic. In Ottawa, Hyacintha Belloni has put on a Slovak picnic every year for so long that a lot of us don't even remember when it started.
This year's event was occasionally interrupted by short sprinkles of rain, but that may have been useful. There were many newcomers, with many new children. That meant they had to join the crowd inside the food-preparation shelter or under a large tent, and meet our regular old-time attendees and the important volunteer who work on Slovak affairs in the capital city. We got to know them, they got to know us.
For many in this multicultural country, where Slovaks meet and marry people of other nationalities, it was an introduction to our cultural practices and interests... and for many children of mixed parentage, an introduction to guláš, halušky, kapuščina and the other wonders of Slovak diet that the Belloni family are experts at. (And, of course, Canadian corn on the cob).
It was also delightful for our older generation to learn how far ahead some of our youthful newcomers are going and how influential they have become to all Canadian affairs, not just our own.
In the evening, more pleasant and warm conversations took place around a large campfire before the drives back to Ottawa and cities as far away as more than an hour's voyage.
Text: George Frajkor
Photos: Tibor Dej and George Frajkor