Image by katiescrapbooklady via FlickrNostalgic Memories
As our weekend began, it dawned on me that the Inlet Inn, which we just started patronizing in 2006, has fit so seamlessly into our tradition. I do miss the beach house - lots of space, outside shower, beach right outside the door (and over the dunes), the option to cook meals as we wish - but the Inn is very nice and a relaxing escape for us.
My memories took me to the "notable" experiences of our Flotillas. In 2006, I was sporting a seriously cute pedicure a la my husband to go with the orthopaedic sandal I had to wear as my broken foot continued to heal. That made navigating through Beaufort a bit of a challenge, but it wasn't bad.
Two thousand seven was pretty bittersweet. We were glad to be there, but I'd just found out the week before that I'd miscarried the baby we had conceived, and I was waiting to see if my body would get rid of it naturally; if not, my D&C was scheduled for the Monday right after the Flotilla. It was hard sharing in my daughter's excitement, knowing the sibling she wanted was resting dead within me. That year, though, we discovered a model train exhibit, and my oldest daughter simply loves model trains, having gotten one the year before for Christmas from Santa Claus.
In 2007, we ended up with a room on the third floor. The Inlet Inn has three floors - the first two have balconies, the third has window seats. We spent a lot of time sitting in the window seat as a family, sipping decaf coffee flavored with Hershey's candy cane kisses, and it was that year that something new started that still continues to this day. Our daughter said, as the three of us sat in the window seat, "I want Kisses." So, we gave her kisses - lots of them, but not the chocolate variety. Every time after that, when she said, "kisses," we'd give her kisses. Since a window seat and a smallish window is no way to enjoy the Flotilla, we went up to the Widow's Walk Lounge to watch the Flotilla. Imagine our surprise to discover a whole bunch of people up there! They were sweet folks from Wilmington, and they invited us to join them for their Christmas party - simply pot luck dinner. We declined because we were still very full from dinner and we didn't have anything to share. (I'm a born-and-bred Southern lady; you don't go empty-handed to a pot-luck meal.)
We missed last year's Flotilla weekend. It broke my heart having to cancel our reservations, but a new house and a new baby left us strapped for extra spending money. I made a point, though, of going ahead and booking our reservations for this year's Flotilla, determined we'd go. Missing it had left us maudlin with an empty spot in our traditional Advent memories.
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