April 20, 2008 | Sunday was the 10th annual Opera in the Park, presented by the Palm Springs Opera Guild. Encore! It was a perfect day — warm, clear blue sky, slight breeze, thousands of appreciative people with their lawn chairs and picnics, and dauntingly talented young singers singing their hearts out, all for free.
Two of the usual suspects, Phil and Réal, got up at the crack of stupid to stake out a prime spot for our group, which, thanks to Phil's A-list, numbers around 20 or so. Although they arrived at the park at 7:30am they discovered that even earlier birds had taken our usual spot. But he who laughs last— They claimed another spot right alongside the tents for paying spectators that turned out to be an even better spot than the usual one.
Bob and I showed up around 9:30am to cater breakfast to the stalwart homesteaders and express profuse gratitude for their sacrifice. Yeah, right!
There's a side benefit to showing up so early, namely that you get to see everyone else arrive and you get to experience the concert twice — once during rehearsals and sound check and again during the actual performance.
The way we do it is this: everyone brings their own beverages (champagne is de rigeur with the Brunch Bunch) and pot luck to share. The buffet table was impressive, and it was how we came to enjoy the people sitting right behind us so much. (Alas, I did not get their names.)
They called attention to themselves immediately with wanting to know if the food on our table would obstruct their view, and with provocative comments suggesting they were really looking forward to lunch. Off and running!
Truth to tell, we had so much food we could have opened up a refreshment stand. People came by and looked enviously at the spread. At one point, someone had the bright idea that next year we should bring along a tip jar and maybe make some money. That, of course, was the signal to the foursome to start throwing money on the table.
They said they'd look for us next year in the same spot — and this time they'd bring food, too.
And then there was Joanne. During intermission, we noticed a woman carrying a plate and carefully inspecting all the food on the table, obviously making her à la carte choices. After quick consultation amongst us determined that she was no one we knew, we stood marveling at this very definition of chutzpah. Finally Ken could stand it no longer and made a comment to the effect that tips would be appreciated. "But they told me I could have some food," she countered. "See that bald-headed man up there in front of Jim? I'm with him." Oops!
Joanne had her own story to tell. It seems that the bald-headed guy was her ex-husband from whom she divorced after 42 years of marriage upon learning that he is gay. But to their great credit, they still remain friends and visit each other regularly. Hey, if you stay with someone for 42 years there must have been a reason, right?
The things you don't find out at Opera in the Park! They say that every dog has its day, and for many dogs the day seems to be Opera in the Park. Who knew that so many dogs were opera fans?
You just have to love Palm Springs.
Last updated on Sep 2, 2016