These are the last few weeks of “season,” and already many of the snowbirds in my neighborhood have taken off. When I walk through Briny Breezes next door, you can see the aluminum shutters going on up on the trailers, the parking lot thinning out. There are always two events that signal the end of season to me, and both are this month. The first is the Easter sunrise services this Sunday at the beach Pavilion at A1A and Atlantic Avenue and the other is the Delray Affair next weekend.
The first time I went to sunrise services I recall feeling sacrilegious. I was used to hours on my knees in a dark church at a Catholic Mass, and here I was, in a beach chair with a cup of black coffee, my flip flops off to the side. No grim stations of the cross, no bloody crucifixion, just the cool sand between my toes, a soft breeze in the sea oats, a murmur of voices as people ran into neighbors, a voice from a microphone introducing a minister, and just there, just under the slate blue bar of the ocean was the sun starting to glimmer pink below the curve of the earth. There was singing, prayers and something else that gave me chill bumps. It was like nothing I had had ever done on Easter Sunday. I think we went to Rosella’s afterward on the way home and got pastries.
And next week is the Delray Affair, which is huge now—I always go early and I always walk the whole length of it. I like to find the stained glass lady, and the guy with all the wooden tiki hut signs. I always get a hot dog from Patrick Robinson, the Man Of Steam, at the Kiwanis booth. I buy glads. I usually blow an hour in Vince Canning Shoes but I’m right there and why not. And I always remember that last year my mother was here for the winter, with her terrible arthritis, and her aches and pains—and how she walked all the way from Swinton to over the bridge and to A1A at the Delray Affair with Elena, my former sister-in-law, and I. She loved the Delray Affair; she forgot for a few hours that she had sciatica and I think we all went to lunch afterward.
Every season in Delray Beach has its special times. I know I say it all the time, I know it’s a cornball ramble, but I mean it—I never get tired of the traditions and the ritual and the sense that we have a real hometown here. So yes, the winter season is drawing to a close, but who cares? We’ll get our town back, and we have a whole lazy summer to enjoy it.
In the meantime, I am heading to church on Sunday at the beach, and I’ll be all over those “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” signs at the Delray Affair.
Sunrise services this Sunday are 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. at A1A and Atlantic Avenue; The Delray Affair is Friday through Sunday, April 13-15.