Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. July 2021
This Fourth of July proved not only different, but special for Chris and me.
First, Panorama explained in a nutshell. Since preparations had to be started months in advance, we really didn’t know how “open” we’d be with restrictions. So, this year would be “re-imagined to make the most of loosening restrictions before we fully go back to the ways we celebrated in years past.” We residents surely understood, and we’d be grateful and appreciate whatever they came up with.
Second, Chris and I recall our first morning of waking up here.With no cooking utensils yet, we found our way, just a short distance, to the entrance of our campus McGandy Park, heading for “that big building where the restaurant is, and where we were told much of the action takes place” (happens to be our Quinault where we presently live since 2017!).
“Oh, Chris, look at those huge white tents way over there at the end of the park! Maybe someone is having a wedding or reception. I hear mariachi music. Reminds me of when we were in San Antonio, Texas.”
Chris shuffled to a stop. “Golly, there must be at least 200 people.”
“Yes. Look, the sidewalk goes right through the crowd. There must be other ways to get to that big building, but I don’t know how yet. We gotta go this way. I hope they don’t think we’re gonna crash their party. Maybe they will see our Panorama name tags and realize we’re just passing through.”
We picked up our pace, heading directly into the center of the crowd, noticing other Panorama name tags and red, white and blue trinkets, hats, pins, you name it. Then we just stopped, smiled and looked around, until a few closest to us, asked, “Hi! Are you new residents?”
Chris and I started breathing normally again. “Yes, we are!”
“How long have you been here?” another asked.
I paused, studied. Then looked up from my wrist, “Well, almost 13 hours, maybe?”
Among the laughter, someone pointed to a table at another entrance to the park, “If you’d like to join us, you can go over and purchase two tickets and we’ll let you in line in front of us.”
We really appreciated that just about everyone wore a name tag. Being 10 years younger and NOT having gone through the year 2020 yet, it was much easier to remember names!
Catered by our Chambers Restaurant (name changed to Seveenteen51 Restaurant and Bistro), the BBQ brisket, chicken, hot dogs, sweet corn on the cob, huge bowls of baked beans, best-of-the-West slaw and potato salad, cold drinks, and ice cream cart were all-you-can-eat.
New names, faces, questions and answers, lively mariachi music with three guitarists in black, silver-studded Mexican suits and three-foot-round, bright-colored, embroidered sombreros heightened the excitement.
Onlookers clapped, cheered and clicked pictures. The games, contests, winners and prizes were not what impressed us the most. It was the genuine love and care that the staff, employees, and residents had for each other. Not a bad for a first meal! We knew we were blessed.
Our 10th Anniversary at Panorama is in 2021. The best ever! The menu: BBQ combination plates to select from ribs, pork, chicken, two sides and a roll. We could order pounds of the smoked meats and sides this year! We could pick up or have them delivered to our homes.
Celebrate with music from noon to 2:00 pm meant live professional performances occurring at multiple locations around our 140-acre campus. We could pick some festive red, white and blue accessories (hats, sunglasses, jewelry, etc.) from tables at each of the five locations.
Two ice cream trucks drove campus streets between 11:00 am to 2:00 am with choices of complimentary ice cream sandwiches, popsicles, drumsticks and cups. We were kids again, but we did not have to hand over our nickel (or dollars in today’s rate)!
Third, and most important, we had the most perfect cool weather for us. Thank you, Lord, and thank you, Panorama!