August 1, 2021
It is midsummer, hot and humid. Lethargy and listlessness firmly establishes itself in my body. Inertia reigns. I try to fight the feeling, but it is so much easier to give in and lounge around rather than do much of anything. So I savor the sluggish season. Read, maybe. Eat, drink, watch TV. The Olympics currently offer an appealing alternative to 24/7 news.
Closer to home than the Olympic Village, local happenings occasionally prod me off my cozy couch and out into the world. Our town offers a series of summer concerts. Free, sort of. As a local taxpayer they are not really free, but I don’t mind my hard-earned $$ spent for these activities. At least a small portion of my taxes provide pleasurable pastimes. All offer culinary delights. What is more fun than stands offering (for a price) delicious, high-calorie, unhealthy, overstuffed, gooey, messy fare? As for the music, some musicians and bands are amazing, others not so much.
And after the concert? Treat time! Which means lingering in a lengthy, meandering line along the sidewalk waiting to give your order for your favorite ice cream concoction to a harried counterperson. A few minutes later – ice cream ecstasy!
Religious services on the beach, offered by various religious groups, are another weekend activity. I attended one this weekend. A gazebo with a stage behind the community building provides space for a number of instruments, musicians, and service leaders. An expanse of sand stretches in front of the gazebo. On one side of the sand area is a playground, on the other the Boardwalk, more beach, and the ocean. Perfect setting for a service.
People arrive on foot, on bikes, and in cars, although parking can be a challenge. Folks drag their beach chairs onto the sand and settle comfortably. Very casual attire – but no bathing suits – the ensemble of the evening. Sandals and flip flops are thrown off so toes can coddle the sand. Colorful Hawaiian shirts dot the scene. Most folks wear hats for sun protection, and occasionally an umbrella is installed by the sun-wary. Services are laid-back and informal. The youngest attendees spend the time in the playground. Some folks watch the service from the balcony – a.k.a. the Boardwalk.
Lively music jump-starts the event. Everyone sings, chants prayers, and converses with family and friends. Folks contemplate their surroundings – the vivid blue sky and yellowish sand, bright-colored playground equipment and joyous cries of children, passersby lugging beach gear home after a day at the shore. Over an hour after the music began folks gather their stuff – shoes, chairs, water bottles – and make their way off the beach, trudging across the sand a slow process.
Next stop is often a restaurant for dinner. Or that ice cream stand…
Another idyllic summer day closes, and folks reluctantly head home.