The Beach is what we called the large grassy area behind the dorm I lived in all three years at Cornell. It was a little known fact that students were allowed to park along the service road that ran along the top edge of the Beach, so whenever parking was unavailable in the lot aside and in front of the dorm, I would park on the Beach. It was not a great place to park when it rained or snowed, but there was always parking there, but for whatever reason I was frequently alone in leaving my car there.
When I got to Mount Vernon this afternoon, I didn't even bother looking for parking on the street; I just pulled up to the Beach. As usual, I was the only person parked there. The Beach had gone through one significant change since I was last on campus: in addition to the sand volleyball court that was installed during my senior year (which, I might add, is a project I initiated during my year as the dorm president, though my successor is one who saw it through) there is now a half-size basketball court on the Beach. I don't know if it was installed by the College or by the dorm, but regardless it's a nice addition.
Later in the day, I hiked back across campus to my car. That's the downside of parking on the Beach, and of living in that dorm in general: it's all the way on the west side of campus, well removed from almost everything else on campus. Making my way up the service road, I heard a car approaching from behind me. I glanced through the driver's side window as the car passed, and was quite surprised to see one of my old professors, Rev. Thomas. He taught the first class I ever took at Cornell, and was hugely influential in my decision to become a history major. He retired a few years ago, and I had not expected to see him on this trip. And even if I had, I wouldn't have expected to run into him there.
I caught up with him at the top of the hill, and we spent a pleasant few minutes chatting. Then he went off to whatever was going on at the President's house, and I went to my hotel to check in. It just goes to show, it's always a good idea to park on the Beach.