Monday, March 4, 2024

Community Voices: The Circus Tent Has Pulled Up Stakes… Til Next Year

Yesterday afternoon, I escaped from the monotony of my computer and household chores, for a leisurely walk on our beach. It was a bit blustery with a little autumn chill in the air. But nothing a ball cap and long sleeves couldn’t remedy. And of course, my trusty iPod was tucked securely into the pocket of my cargo shorts, cued to my favorite beach tune playlist.

Kicking along through the chilly shallow water I was struck by the beauty of our near empty beach. Just a few weeks ago it was packed! Now, looking in all directions, I couldn’t help but smile… The crowds were gone! This is without a doubt my favorite time of year!

Having grown up on this familiar shoreline, I reflected back to the 60s and 70s, way before Coronado was ever tagged “Nado” and evolved into the congested ‘Coney Island-ish’ summer tourist mecca that it’s become. Back then it seems the only way we knew for sure summer was here was the weather warmed up and school let out.

Making my way through a narrow gap in the jetty’s rocks, it dropped me on the stretch of the sand in front of the Shores. Similar to the other end of the beach, it too was nearly deserted.

Just then, an old favorite Jimmy Buffett tune began playing on my iPod. I’ve heard When the Coast is Clear many, many times before, But this time, as I walked and listened, the words took on a whole new relevance.

They’re closin’ down the hangout
The air is turnin’ cool
They’re shuttin’ off the “superslide”
The kids are back in school

The tourist traps are empty
Vacancy abounds
Almost like it used to be
Before the circus came to town

That’s when it always happens
Same time every year
I come down to talk to me
When the coast is clear

Hello mister other me
It’s been a long time
We hardly get to have these chats
That in itself’s a crime

So tell me all your troubles
I’ll surely tell you mine
We’ll laugh and smoke and cuss and joke
And have a glass of wine

That’s where it always happens
Same place every year
I come down and talk to me
When the coast is clear

It’s the only place he knows
Where it always happens
Same place every year
I come down and talk to me
When the coast is clear

Not sure why I felt it necessary to share this introspective moment. But if you’re not familiar with the tune, and you appreciate the delightful solitude of our town and beaches this time of year, the simple lyrics are somewhat poignant. Especially for those who remember what it was like ‘before the circus came to town’….

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