Pops by the Sea is an outdoor concert played in Hyannis by the Boston Pops. It happens every year, and every year I miss it. For awhile I was under the impression that it was a pricey affair. After all, it's Boston Pops. Last year I found out you could volunteer and get in for free so I checked out the website. Volunteering consisted of landscaping the grounds, building a stage, seeding the clouds to redirect rainstorms and other such projects. I didn't feel like doing any of them so I skipped it altogether. This year I discovered that tickets were $10 and kids under 12 are free. I can swing that.
So I called Sarah and she was excited about it and we talked and talked about it and absolutely were going to go today - except we had no tickets and they were sold out.
Pops by the Sea is for music snobs who don't have four-wheel drive. Granted, up until this morning, that was me. But Sarah had the great idea of doing something BETTER than Pops by the Sea, to make up for the heartbreak. So we went to the outer beach in her all-terrain van.
Going to the outer beach is one of the best things in the world. When I first heard about it, I envisioned driving out to remote parts of the beach where no one else was. This is not true. Considering how packed people are on the regular beach, it's partially true. Each car has probably 30 square feet of beach. You pull up and unload your grill and your surfboards and your wind break and your chairs and umbrellas and cooler and inflated toys and proceed to recreate a sort of living space on the beach. Heck, you could probably do one of those Crate and Barrel patio get-ups out there, complete with twinkly lights and rattan furniture.
You can even drive your Winnebago out there, although today did not turn out to be a good day for campers.
Because one caught on fire. Yep, about half a mile down the beach there were flames and big puffy black billowy clouds of smoke. Our big strong nosey husbands walked down to check it out - armed with cameras and video equipment - while we women-folk stayed behind taking care of the homestead. As we watched the goings-on, I noticed that there was a sort of pilgrimage along the water line. If you looked to the south all you saw was the backs of people walking away (toward the camper). If you looked to the north, there was a stream of people walking toward you. It looked like Night of the Living Dead. Or possibly phase one of The Rapture. These may be the same thing. As we stood there watching the procession, I wondered quietly to myself (assuming it was Phase I of the Rapture) if the people walking were getting sucked up into heaven or if it was just a way to skim off the Unworthy so the rest of us could get sucked up into heaven more efficiently. This made me wonder further if I should stay put, or start walking. And then I wondered how lunch was coming along.
Lunch was great. Steve set a grill on a skim board, propped up on a tire and a step ladder. He's obviously done this before. We also had all kinds of side dishes. Your whole concept of picnics goes out the door when you can transport a buffet-style spread.
We played in the water and some of the brave ones went swimming. The kids were in the water most of the morning, which is exactly what water and kids are supposed to do. Who doesn't remember being completely frozen and refusing to come out of the water?
Little by little, news of the camper fire came down the beach. No one was hurt. It was an engine fire. It was a rental - not much personal stuff went up in flames. And so on. I don't know if all the information was factual, but I did appreciate that none of it was fear-mongery (it is hard trying to figure out how to spell words that aren't really words. Monger-y? Mongerey?). We all wanted it to be okay. Everyone was safe. Flames were 20 feet high. It burned to the ground.
At the end of the day we reconvened at the pond for dinner and an evening rowboat ride. Pretty darn great. Who needs Boston Pops?