Author’s Note: I’ve made a list of 100+ events, places and experiences that happily unite people. I’m taking a tour to see and experience as many of them as possible, and also meet up with Society members and friends. Of course, I’ll be sharing these #HappinessUnites moments with you. Find out more of the why’s of the #HappinessUnites Tour in my blog: 3 Reasons I’m Hittin’ the Road. Or find out where my #HappinessUnites Tour has taken me so far — and what I’ve had time to write about. If you want to meet up with me, check out my #HappinessUnites Tour schedule.
#HappinessUnites @ Outdoor Concerts
When I sent out an email to the Amused Members to see who’d like for me to visit them, Maureen in Idyllwild, CA was one of the first to respond. She suggested we go to one of the summer outdoor concerts that was held weekly during July and August at the future site of the Idyllwild Community Center.
Maureen told me that Idyllwild was a mountain town of 3,000 above Palm Springs. I’d been to Palm Springs, but needed to pull out a map to find it. After some MapQuest research, I thought I could go to Disneyland for a few hours and attend the concert too, so I confirmed the date with Maureen.
After my time at Disneyland, I eagerly hit the road to Idyllwild. I was excited about the drive, because I’d get to see California change before my eyes. It was the first time I’d driven east in California. I wasn’t excited about the expected traffic, and hoped I’d get to clock some chill time before the concert.
It didn’t take long for the terrain to change from green to desert brown, then mostly flat. It was a different dirt than the flat of West Texas, but the view of unending dirt was familiar. I even saw a farm with hundreds of black and white cows–not something you think of when you think of California. I would’ve taken a couple of photos if I’d had more time—maybe one would have posed with a #HappinessUnites sign. It took longer than expected, but eventually I was driving up the twists and turns of the beautiful mountain. Mountains always feel majestic to me. It’s like they are looking over the valleys to watch and protect all who travel through them.
The first thing I noticed about Idyllwild is that it felt like a Hallmark movie city — cute, quaint and homey. I checked into my B-&-B then took a quick shower before Maureen picked me up. Since it took a little longer than expected to get here, Maureen was kind and brought me a couple of snacks. When we arrived at the concert we took our chairs to setup our spot. As usual, I was in awe of the mountain view. I was sitting in the middle of Mother Nature’s magnificence. I kept breathing in the air, but didn’t pick up any pine smelling trees. In fairness, my nose was still in cold mode.
The concert area quickly filling up with adult, kids, babies and pets. Everyone seemed to know each other – and I’m sure the Six Degrees of Keven Bacon applied here. By the time the music started, it looked like over 300 people were at the concert–which would be roughly 10% of the town.
Maureen introduced me to some of her friends. Then we sat for a bit in the perfectly cool, crisp air, and relaxed as we listened to the music. Maureen danced with some of her friends, but I passed because my nagging cough reappeared.
After the concert Maureen took me on a tour of the town, which is definitely a Hallmark movie setting. For the record, I don’t work for the Hallmark Movie Channel—just a fan. Maureen told me about each musical event that took place at the various restaurants. She loves music, and anyone who sees the joy it brings her can tell—it obviously speaks to her soul. Then we went to Fratellos where I ordered a small pizza. Looking back, it is probably the best pizza I have ever eaten.
Most importantly, I got to get to know Maureen beyond her Facebook page. She’s a retired speech pathologist who’d worked at the local school district. Now, she’s a minister, and plans to work with Hospice. One of the things I admire most about mostly happy people is that they always seem to pursue new passions. They embrace where life’s changes take them. Maureen is an example of this loving, vibrant spirit who’s making her corner of the world happier.
I was honored that Maureen shared her music passion with me, but what she really shared is her love of Idyllwild. It’s obvious that it’s a community of people who feel a genuine connection and affection for each other and where they live. For a fleeting moment, even I wondered if it might be a future home for me, but at this time of my life I still need to live close to Barnes and Noble, Chick-Fil-A, and Costco.
After our lovely dinner, Maureen took me back to my B-&-B, where I grabbed a little sleep before heading back to LAX to fly home.
At the airport, I met a lovely family from Mexico City. Their young son shared his cereal, which happens to be my favorite one, with me. It was so sweet. I asked if they’d take a picture with our #HappinessUnites sign, and they happily agreed. The dad was playing his harmonica for a bit. I also learned the mom was a professional singer. I was again connecting to people whose love of music inspires their soul—even at an airport.
I’d love to hear about your Outdoor Concert experiences and get some recommendations from you! Please leave a comment below! Such a great way to meet new friends who love music and outdoor concerts! #HappinessUnites