Welcome To The Great Unraveling of Cape Cod’s 2020 Summer, And The Coming Plan For Reinvention – An Essay

The great unraveling
Written by Brian Tarcy

Every spring since we started Cape Cod Wave Magazine in May 2013, we have predicted that the upcoming summer would the best summer ever, and we have not been wrong yet.

But it’s mid May 2020 on Cape Cod, and already it feels like August is over.

So, best summer ever?

Well, maybe not. But we’re pretty sure it will be the most memorable. 

There is no way around it. We are entering new territory. Soon, after all these weeks of nothing, we will again be experiencing something.

But what? Well in a way, it feels like we are all infants to this world, experiencing something that is an essential part of life and that we know nothing about. So like all new experiences, this upcoming whatever is certain to stick with us for a long time.


Cape Cod Covidispatch

The days are getting warmer, the flowers are blooming and yet, in some ways, summer 2020 is a distant memory.

We think of all those things that should have been and now will never be. There will be sadness with every event lost. It is already devastating to envision.

Events in June have been cancelled. July has been cancelled. Almost all of August has been cancelled. Heck, the Wellfleet Oysterfest, scheduled for October, has been cancelled. This broken record of cancelled events could break us if we let it.

But hold on a second. While this certainly looks like the great unraveling of the summer of 2020, we suggest it is time for the great readjustment.

People reinvent themselves all the time. Why not Cape Cod?


WaveCounter Arguments First, & Some Respect For Those Making A Plan

There is a 21-member task force reaching out to the community for suggestions and at some point, theoretically, coming up with a plan to reopen Cape Cod.

We tend to look at things in a backwards chronology, even when thinking of the future. We don’t know the solution. But one thing we know almost for certain is that there will be opposition to whatever is suggested. It will be be organized, angry and loud even if the number of people involved may be miniscule.

We do not know what the plan will be.

The great unraveling


And we don’t who the angry people will be, but we know they will be out there. And we assume, so does every member of that committee.

No matter how good the plan may be or how how much consensus the committee can find, anyone following along the last few months knows that organized angry opposition for such important decisions anywhere in America, even on Cape Cod, is either part of the scenery or part of the discussion.

We can only hope that the logic, not the volume, of any argument will dictate the weight it is given in decision making. 

Making the right decision will not make any anger go away. Often any big public decision can make half the people angry. It is what it is, as a famous football coach once said.

And so to those making these enormous decisions, whether we agree with any specifics or not, we give a tip of the cap for taking on this monumental task.


WaveSo What To Do?

Our answer is we have no idea. (Although we kind of dig the idea of open-to-pedestrians-only Main Streets in every town, so restaurant tables can spread out on sidewalks.)

But we know one thing for certain. The economy versus health argument that seems to be floating about is a false dichotomy.

The great unraveling

It will be a new kind of summer. CAPE COD WAVE PHOTO

Without people confident in their health during commerce of any kind, there is no economy. This will prove to be especially true, we suggest, during this pandemic.

So to those making the big decision, one big plea: Make health the priority. 

Because it is the only point we really have, we’d like to say this one more time: Health is number 1. Without public health concerns eased, there will not be a viable economy. Especially in our tourist part of the world.

So to us, any argument that considers commerce over life is a nonstarter.

That said, at some time the world will begin to reopen. We just hope it doesn’t start to soon.

We’d hate to have to do this all over again.

After all, this is about to be the best summer we’ve ever spent during a pandemic.

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For our other coverage see Cape Cod Covidispatches

You Can't Sell Right Field

–PLEASE SEE You Can’t Sell Right Field,  a novel from Cape Cod Wave…. about a huge piece of land for sale, a crooked developer, a softball team named The Townies, and an election. Based on the true story of a large Cape Cod development from the early 1990s, and Cape Cod softball.

About the author

Brian Tarcy

Brian Tarcy is co-founder of Cape Cod Wave. He is a longtime journalist who has written for the Boston Globe, Boston magazine, the Cape Cod Times and several other publications. He is the author of "YOU CAN'T SELL RIGHT FIELD; A Cape Cod Novel." He is also the author or co-author of more than a dozen mostly non-fiction books, including books with celebrity athletes Cam Neely, Tom Glavine and Joe Theisman. His previous book was, "ALMOST: 12 Electric Months Chasing A Silicon Valley Dream" with Hap Klopp,who created the iconic brand, The North Face.
For more information, see
Brian is a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan with a long-running NFL predictions/political satire column connecting weekly world events to the fate of his favorite team, now at

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