When I was little, growing up in Malden, my family would pack up the car with a grill, tons of food, the dog and usually my best friend Jean, to make our annual summer pilgrimage to The Salem Willows. We would leave super early, this had a dual purpose - the first was to allow time for the inevitable "getting lost" (I don't think we ever got there by the same route twice) and the second reason was so we could get the best spot - a picnic table under a tree, next to the ocean. Oh how we LOVED going to the Willows! It was such a treat! Perfect place for little kids. It is a park filled with gently rolling grassy hills, and huge old willow trees set beside the beautiful rocky coast of New England. Even better, for kids, is the added bonus of a row of old fashioned arcades and ice cream and pizza stands. Remember the movie "Big" with the "Zoltan" fortune telling machine? Well they had, and still have "Zoltan", not to mention a machine that would press your penny with the Declaration of Independence and a beautiful old carousel and the best popcorn ever and a concoction called a "Chop Suey" Sandwich. Back in the day there were rides like the "Tilta-Whirl" and a mini rollercoaster. Three beaches just perfect for exploring and swimming just make it all add up to wonderful! And, it was kind of "spooky"! Salem is famous for its witchcraft trials of the 1600's and my friend Jean and I knew all about this and would wander all around the park imagining that it was the setting for all kinds of scary and thrilling deeds...ahhh!!! so much fun!!! Now, 30 odd years later, I live in Salem, in fact, I can walk to the Willows any time I want. Last Sunday morning, as Mike and I were taking a walk by ourselves(what a rare and awesome thing!) and we were passing through the Willows, It struck me that every year I say to myself that we should do the pilgrimage again, and we never do....and time is fleeting. So, this morning my parents got up crazy early for their retired selves and drove to our house at 8AM, we packed up the cars and headed down the street...no getting lost this time;). We set up in the most beautiful spot and fired up the grill. As the grill heated up we drank coffee and ate luscious coffee cake bars that my Dad made (he's an incredible baker). Then my Mom worked her magic and made what for me is THE TASTE of The Willows of my childhood, Egg, sausage and cheese english muffin sandwiches. As my parents say ,they are not Egg McMuffins but Egg MAC Muffins (my parent's last name is MacDonald) and they are scrumptious! We had a fabulous morning. The sun was shining and the breeze was blowing and we were all together and it was just so perfect. I am so happy that we made it happen and here's to many more perfect days with the people I love most in this world.