Simple gifts.

Simple gifts.  Every day I am reminded of how lucky a life I have lived thanks to the most endearing individuals and experiences I have been lucky to have had in my life.  These are the aspects of life that need to be pushed to the forefront to outweigh the countless times we all can find something to complain about.  I remind myself all of the beautiful moments I have had thanks to the individuals, and experience, I have been lucky to have happen.  I thought of this, this 2018 Thanksgiving and post Thanksgiving.

I used to be pretty good at the posts and keeping up with it all, and then, ironically I moved back to the states and time seemed to be warp speed and leaving so much behind while I try to grasp at all before it slips away, and such is life, eh?  Yet, I battle every day and will continue to regain the very moments that are magical and we all share together across the miles.  As this post title indicates, Thanksgiving 2018 was upon on in a flash, at first this school year creeped into being, August and then WHOOM! – the Thanksgiving break we are were waiting for was on us!

Without warning, this Thanksgiving break has been one of my most memorable as well, and that is saying so much when we had past sit downs with family, visits to Puerto Escondido and I have to say, the day after – thanks to today has become one of the best in memory.  “We love your dogs!  Cape Charles loves your dogs!”  I was so surprised and taken by surprise, I was quite speechless with an older couple approached Dane, Wriggley and Amaya and embrace them so suddenly.   I am way ahead of myself, so let me work my to where we jumped in – knowing I needed to make the 2 and a half hour trek to Cape Charles to pick up some replacement herons for the next year’s HEROn 5k Walk/Run, I knew I needed to do it on break or I wouldn’t do it at all. I remembered how scenic this drive was before and thought at best I would get some great images.  Little did I know. 

I had decided early on with such a long trek that I would /should take the dogs with me, since they deserved and were overdue for some quality freedom time based on a very demanding and long Fall Cross Country Season that cut into their “out time.”

A couple of false starts occurred, going back to the house after realizing my gas card was in the house somewhere, and after a bunch of bungling, finally on the road.  I couldn’t help but notice the leaves and trees that seemed to hug the road even more as Delaware turned into Maryland, Maryland turned into Virginia, and maybe the best Black Friday I ever knew was taking in a cold but crisp fall = now turning winter day.  The whole time the dogs begged, and sometimes figured out, how to turn down the back windows when their paws were just in the right place.

Coming into R & T Nautical, and calling ahead and letting them know estimated time of arrival, I was told cheerily that R & T was dog friendly as well, and yes they were.  I was a little more over protective of how the canines wanted to be into every single sea craft in their building, and rightly so as, DESPITE being let roam outside before going in, Dane, decided to relinquish a bathroom spot right there in the main room, YES devastating and YES, horrifying to me, but the owner brushed off this event as I quickly cleaned up after Dane and shook my head.  

A box of carved herons later and a few gifts, and I was headed back.  I remember AGES ago, thanks to Nancy McGee, we had attended a birding Festival called Kiptopeke Birding Festivalit was amazing. ( I think it might have been 2013!)  The sheer ability to experience so much with dragonflies first hand, birding, migrations, as well as the shops I remember that were right on the beach, I though, if I EVER have the chance to revisit, I will.  Here I was, and I VAGUELY remembered this entrance, so I thought, yes, I have the dogs, but why not?  I turned the truck around, went to the entrance of what I thought sure enough was the shops I remembered in a historic part of Cape Charles, and VOILA!  it all came back, it was all here.  And what a night to pick to visit...Festive Friday.

Very few places unfolded like a Christmas story you always see on television, the movies, such as you see in It’s a Wonderful Life.  But I tell you the absolute truth, here it was all happening around me.  Individuals were in small golf carts, everywhere, setting up make shift stand up places young children could stand behind and take pictures in (from the Grinch, cape2to Santa Claus to so many more, and almost on every block).  Shops were lit up everywhere with Christmas lights, you could hear music follow you everywhere you went.  The beautiful version of the Wexford Carol ran in my mind as we were greeted by people constantly on every single block.  The dogs were hugged, petted, and greeted as if we lived here all our lives, they ate it up 100%.

The stores along the boardwalk – amazing.  Watson’s Hardware Store had a wood table where local residents were gathered around talking about the latest news important to all that lived here, The Cape Charles Candy Company simply brings you in and you feel as if you have walked into a mock holiday scene, Like a Sailor catches you off guard and makes you blush and laugh at the same time,  The Boardwalk brings some very unique gifts front and center, cape3Peach Street Books is a bookstore created out of a classic former garage and what seems to be out of a movie and picture book at the same time,  the cape4breathtaking galleries, the inviting store lit fronts – but not too many and not too long, unique, kept making me blink to make sure I was, in fact, not in a dream after all.   I went in were AMAZING, warm, lit up and you felt the excitement of what seemed almost as a mirage with the welcome you received at every store- from this I received this especially warm greeting on a street I had last been maybe over 8 – 10 years before = “We love your dogs!  Cape Charles loves your dogs!”  – it was one of the nicest, genuine greetings that Dane, Wriggley, and Amaya seemed to realize as in this one night so much was realized – in one single beautiful chance we took to check out Cape Charles and fell into a holiday movie seemingly.  

A slideshow of the last week, Thanksgiving with Mom and being able to enjoy an amazing meal without hurry, being able to have so many amazing experiences with a Cross Country team that taught me there would be days I did not want to run and pushing me out the door and after the run that day celebrating the feel of running that only hours before I did not want to do at all, how much it changed me, how much they motivated me, Coaches of the past putting aside their afternoon and coming back together to create an event that motivated and pushed others to dig in and realize their potential  – all of these great feelings emerged to the surface amid such an AMAZING, beautiful town of Cape Charles coming together to celebrate each other and the beautiful town they had bringing in the holidays.  If you do one thing on your holiday list, I urge you to pull back from all the bustle that is so easy to get pulled into, and escape to one of the Festive Fridays in Cape Charles then find others in the pockets of our East coast, it will change the way you see the holidays.

There is so so much hardship, so many sad and depressing events that are occurring in the history of the world, and yet, when you witness the beauty in people and the strength that individuals exhibit towards each other at some very special moments, you realize there is hope for individuals to make the positive changes that each of us needs to make the world even better.  It is hard and difficult to imagine you could have these thoughts just from one exceptional visit,  but yes, the night in Cape Charles was magical.  Being treated like royalty from the moment you stepped into the town, it is difficult to not love all there is about such a town by the water, on a holiday season coming into the eastern shore.  

I am so thankful for the decision that made me turn back and enter a Cape Charles I had visited over 8 years before and realizing how rich I was in friends, experiences, moments, dog and cat pilgrimages across North America, and in the face of so much devastation in the world, hope.  Hope and a belief that such warm and heartfelt greetings of welcome as felt in Cape Charles can exist in each of us and warm the coldest of nights and bring about the best holidays knowing we have each other as a part of our past, present and future.  This certainly is a magical place, and even moreso on such a holiday festive Friday.  I hope you to get a chance to experience since a needed moment of thanks and discovery of simply gifts that are often taken for granted.



About Harry Brake

Employee of Woodbridge High School, Library Media Specialist, Media crazy! :)
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2 Responses to Simple gifts.

  1. Leigh greer says:

    Thank you for loving this town as much as I do! Yes Cape Charles is magical.

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