The Picnic

August 5, 1918

I felt heady, so heavy with joy, I convinced  myself this must be a dream.

“Am I dreaming?” I repeated out loud. “Is it really you?”

“I’ve pinched myself a thousand times, Ginger, love. It’s true.”

Daniel’s voice was low and brittle, his breath airy. Ginger’s heart pinched at the thought of her beloved being ill. If not for the way his eyes lit up when they landed on her, she mightn’t have recognized him. So thin, and shuffling his feet like an old man, as if his boots were weighted with lead, his newly shaved face, gaunt with pale, concave cheeks.

She’d placed her palms on that face, taking him in as if he were a spirit come to visit her from another dimension.

His kiss through roughened lips tasted like honey and Ginger melted into his embrace. “Daniel. I’ve missed you so.”

They held each other as if frozen in time, neither wanting to be the first to pull away, but eventually, Ginger took Daniel’s hand, threading her fingers through his and led him to the blanket where she had prepared a simple picnic for them to enjoy. Just a bit of bread and cheese and a cheap bottle of wine, the only things Ginger could round up quickly in this time of intense rationing.

They made love in the privacy of the empty field, their hunger for one another greater than the emptiness of their stomachs.

Afterwards, when they’d eaten the bread and cheese, and nearly finished the bottle of wine, Ginger said, “I think the war will end soon.” What she wanted to ask was, how is it for you, at the front? Will you manage to stay alive for me until the end?

“One can only hope and pray,” Daniel said. He traced her jaw with his finger. “I wish you had gone back to Boston, where I know you will be safe.”

“But you must see, I couldn’t go,” Ginger said. “I couldn’t sit around and do nothing. I need to do my bit.” She kissed his forehead. “And if I were in America, I’d have no chance of seeing you.”

He kissed her hand, his lips travelling up the exposed flesh of her forearm. “I admit to feeling tremendously selfish,” he said, “grateful that you are here with me today.”

“I will never forget this day,” Ginger said with a sigh. She had to quickly talk her way with Captain Smithwick to arrange this rendezvous with her husband, but he only gave his permission for a few hours.

“But perhaps, love, you will now set my heart at ease and go home to England. I worry about Grandmama and Felicia. Will you see to them for me?”

Ginger stilled. Daniel was a skilled strategist after all, using his family members as pawns to get Ginger to do his will.

“Your grandmother and sister are quite well. We correspond by letter regularly. I know they write to you, as well, but the post has a difficult time getting to its destination in war time.”


“Daniel,” she countered. “I’m safe enough in Paris working at the telephone exchange. The war will end and you will find me there. Now…” She leaned in to kiss him again. “Our time is short. Let’s not waste anymore of it by talking.”
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Really liked reading this. It made her easier knowing some of these things about Ginger and Daniel.
Shop Lee Strauss replied:
Glad you liked it. Thanks for letting me know!

Meg Brown

I hadn’t read any of Ginger’s journal before but I decided I needed to read it from the beginning. I just finished all the entries. What an exciting/terrifying life she led. It’s wonderful to read about her life with Daniel. Thank you for putting in the effort to give us these little peaks into Ginger’s life.
Shop Lee Strauss replied:
* I’m very happy to hear you enjoyed the journal! Thanks for reading it.*

Socorro Siqueiros

Thank you for the journal. I have enjoyed these little bits!
Shop Lee Strauss replied:
* You’re welcome!*

sue s

I love Lee’s books and I especially look forward to reading Ginger’s journal entries.
Shop Lee Strauss replied:
So happy to hear you’re enjoying my books!

Barbara Feo

Wow. I know the end if near for Ginger and Daniel and it is sad, but I also know that she has a wonderful future ahead. Thank you for this journal as it makes me feel so close to Ginger as though we were friends.
Shop Lee Strauss replied:
* I’m so happy you consider Ginger a friend. I do too!*


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