I was reminded again this week that Seaside is more than a resort town. It’s not all about pronto pups and beach mementos. It is a small community made up of people who open their town to visitors year round, particularly in the summer.
During the summer, we deal with overcrowded highways, surreys being pedaled slowly down Broadway, and waiting lines at our favorite dining places. And, yet, we take it in stride. We take back roads when we have to travel north or south, we give the surreys room because we can see that the pedalers are having fun, and we eat at home more frequently. We park our cars and walk or bike to the stores. The trade-off is that we get to live in a beautiful part of the country, see the most awesome fireworks display on the 4th of July from our front windows, and attend pumpkin weigh-offs, Miss Oregon pageants, and cat fancier conventions.
What happened last week? I went to two breakfasts—one was for the Seaside Downtown Development Association (SDDA) and one was for the Chamber of Commerce. They were both packed and featured the same speaker, Seaside’s new tourism director. He spoke about what the Visitors Bureau is doing to promote Seaside as a vacation destination. At both of the breakfasts, there were managers and owners with businesses that are directly involved in tourism but there were others, too. Retired residents, insurance agents, business journal writers, city officials, and state employment representatives attended. We all work together, sometimes loudly, and sometimes quietly.
The other reminder was bell choir practice. I haven’t played bells in years but I got up my nerve (and received several reminders of when practice started) and went to the church down the street. The first person to meet me was a lady that owns her own marketing company who wanted to make sure I knew which door was unlocked. The next person I met was a lady whose husband is a well-known artist. Then there was the director, a retired music teacher that moved to Seaside from somewhere else. I was introduced to two other women but don’t know their story yet. Two that didn’t make the practice were the assistant to the director of SDDA and her daughter. We had an hour of laughter as we struggled to play the right bell on the right beat. By the end, we were nearly able to recognize the piece as a minuet by Bach.
The real sound of Seaside isn’t the ocean, or the arcade, or the seagulls squawking. It is the sound of laughter, with a little bell thrown in here and there.