My brother Jeff was six when I came along and a sibling didn’t fit into his plans. As far as he was concerned I didn’t exist. He went to great lengths to let our parents know of his displeasure by not coming home from school on time.
One night he was three hours late. Mom was frantic. A crowd of police and neighbors met Jeff when he finally decided to show up. An officer sat him in the squad car to lecture him about the consequences of such behavior and how it worried his parents. After the officer finished, Jeff asked for the time. When the officer told him, my sensitive brother replied, “I missed Howdy Doody.”
Fast forward a year or two to the present. Jeff and his wife Debbie have retired to Wilmington NC where they enjoy living 15 minutes from the beach. Due to geographic distance, we don’t see each other often, save an occasional Skype session or Facebook post.
I decided it was time to pay the Wilmington Wisoffs a visit. The first week of August seemed the perfect time since my husband would be going to Sturgis for the annual bike rally.
Although my connecting flight from Charlotte to Wilmington was delayed and I didn’t arrive at ILM until after midnight, Jeff, Debbie and I sat and talked until after 3:00 AM. After a short night’s sleep, we had leisurely morning, drinking coffee and chatting some more. This was pretty much the pattern for the week—lots of coffee and conversation.
The first day—Wednesday—Jeff and Debbie showed me around the area which included a walk on the beach.
Thursday it was time to suit up and ‘swim’ at Kure Beach. However the waves were particularly forceful. While I didn’t spend a lot of time in the water, I did snap a few shots of wine glasses on the beach as models for future paintings.
After dumping at least a pound of sand in the shower, we settled in for a cozy evening of conversation and a wonderful salmon dinner. Or was that Wednesday night’s dinner?
Friday night we went to downtown Wilmington for a wonderful seafood dinner at Elijah’s Restaurant and a free concert in front of the courthouse with AC/DC tribute band Shoot to Thrill. Not my favorite kind of music but I was with two of my favorite people.
Every day I enjoyed my furry fixes from my three canine nieces, Pip, Lacee and Jackie. Pip, in particular, is a lover. I call her Pip-Plop since all you have to do is make eye contact and she falls on her side for a tummy rub. Jeff says I’m just another pair of hands to her, but I’m sure there was some bonding. You’re buying this, right?
Saturday we visited Airlie Gardens to see the Gnome Invasion. However rain put a damper on things so it wasn’t a lengthy visit, albeit an interesting one. Even under gray skies, the scenery was gorgeous.
Sunday night we went to see Mary Chapin Carpenter, whose music I honestly wasn’t familiar with. Where have I been the past 30 years, right? In any event, she and her backup musicians were fantastic as was her warm up singer, Emily Barker from Australia. Both of these ladies can entertain.
On Monday the shops were closed so it was the perfect time to see if the ocean had calmed any at Kure Beach. I’m happy to say it had, but not calm enough to swim laps. The waves are more geared to surfers but it was still fun to attempt a breast stroke or two.
Tuesday, my last day in Wilmington, we went back downtown to shop. There are quite a few art, clothing and curio shops. Jeff and Debbie showered me with a lot of early birthday presents.
Alas, the week went too fast. I had a very early Wednesday morning-before-sunrise flight, leaving little time for much coffee or conversation.
More than anything I will cherish the memory of this vacation. No one can reminisce about shared parents the way a sibling can. I hope I apologized for taking advantage of my status as “Daddy’s little girl” to find many ways to get him in trouble. What can I say? I was a brat. So the best moment of the week came when my big brother, my hero said, “I’m sorry it’s taken 60 years for me to really appreciate my little sister.”