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June 25

Then twelve months passed and once again: the company picnic. A day greeted with joy, with dread, with stoic indifference, depending on who you were. It was Tess’s company, where she’d worked since college graduation. The whole family attended every year—a late-June weekend that was inevitably hotter than average, the sun proud and ablaze in its new summer glory, temperatures of 85 to 90 that felt like 115, whorling clouds of insects above the weathered tables. The children loved it. It was held at a place in Maryland called Misty Glen Farm, which was not a farm at all but a sprawling outdoor corporate-event facility, staffed with dozens of young hourly workers manning massive grills and bounce houses and pony rides. The picnic was practically an all-day affair, noon to seven. Barbeque, pies, horseshoes. Old-fashioned family fun.

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