The Outer Banks of North Carolina has always been a special place for us. In fact, my husband told me we were going to the Outer Banks for our honeymoon. The wedding announcement in the newspapers said, "after a trip to the Outer Banks, the couple will reside..." So I packed sweats and sneakers appropriate for being at the beach in early November. Imagine my surprise when we headed north. My husband had arranged a week in Colonial Williamsburg. Nice surprise, but I wasn't exactly the best dressed person around. But I digress.
For the first 10 years of our marriage, we took trips to the Outer Banks to celebrate our anniversary. We stayed at the same motel, ate in the same restaurants, spent endless hours at the National Seashore and evenings fishing on the pier. We didn't have much money back then, and limited vacation time but the off-season rates allowed us to continue the yearly trips. After the children were born, we left them with their grandparents while we enjoyed our time alone at the beach.
When we began to earn more and finally had a few more nickels to rub together, we planned more elaborate vacations and family vacations with the kids. As a result, we hadn't been to the Outer Banks for more than 25 years. Last fall we decided to go there again. We were appalled to find that the charming quiet areas were overrun with large colorful beach houses. There were houses on land that we had known to be inlets in years past. The only things that resembled our memories were the National Seashore and the lighthouses (and actually one of the lighthouses had been moved further inland).
But the beach was deserted and we knew we would have fun, even in the rain and chill. And then it happened. I got food poisoning! The first time in my life. And I was as sick as I had ever been. No fancy restaurants...just ginger ale and crackers. I felt terrible physically and I felt terrible emotionally that I had ruined our trip already marred by the weather and the changed atmosphere.
One afternoon while I was resting, my husband went out to look at some of the shops. When he came back, he had a box for me. Inside was this sweet little figurine, "The 1st Lady of Pie." For a few minutes I actually felt better.
So that's why this is now my favorite Thanksgiving decoration. She was the best thing about the trip. When I look at her I forget all about the disappointment about the growth, the rain and the cold and reflect on the early years when we went to the Outer Banks. But try as I may, even looking at the 1st Lady, I cannot forget those days of misery following the food poisoning.
Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving decoration? One that you always put on display even if you don't bring out all the other stuff?