17 Goblets

They filled the water goblet.

I drank it.

They filled it again.

And again I drank it.

And again. And again.

17 times.


The year was 1986, and for the first time in my life I was experiencing fine dining. The white linens on the table. The raw shrimp heaped in the crystal bowl in the middle of the fine place settings. The water goblets that they kept filling, much to my chagrin. I had to drink them. I assumed it was rude not too. I wore a path from our table to the bathroom at the Barnaby Inn in Dennis, Massachusetts. Each time I came back, the goblet was full again.

That year was the first time we ever came to Cape Cod. It was the first time that my Dad ever took his new family back to where he grew up. The first time we got to meet my Grandma Kay and Grandpa Newt. I remember loading down that old blue station wagon my Mom had with all our gear and making the drive. I remember sitting at Thanksgiving and having knishes. I remember going into my Grandmas basement to get bottles of "tonic" (pop for Ohioans, soda for the rest). I remember my Dad whooping me at ping pong. I remember a thousand little details from that trip and the subsequent ones we made to Massachusetts. Papaw Hodge coming in 1989 and telling a dirty joke by accident. Visiting revolutionary war battlefields and acing my history report. And the Christmas Tree Shops.

My Mother's favorite shopping destination in all the world, this store was tucked away just on the Cape Cod side of the Sagamore Bridge. It was so cool. It had more Christmas Decorations than Santa's house. It had more toys than the workshop. It had a windmill. And it looked like something straight out of the Pilgrim Days. She went there. Every year. With empty suitcases to fill when she could sneak them past my Dad (he caught her twice). She loved it. We all did.

This week I have had the opportunity come back to the Cape with my sons and my wife. And while the boys have been here before, with my Mom and Dad, this is the first visit we have had here together. Combined with Little Red never having been here before, and her cousin last being here 30 something years ago, and it was a week to make new memories together. And if you have caught the photos and captions on the blog this week, you will know we have done just that. From the Plimoth Plantation to Wahlburgers, from the Christmas Tree Shops to Salem, we have loved the time we spent together as a family this week. And we owe it all to my Dad.

This was their place. His and my Mom's. They came here and made memories of their own here in this very place. I can feel her here with us even now, and see her in every photo I take of my wife and kids. At the lighthouses. On the Mayflower. And in that Christmas Tree Shop. She loves that we are here. I have always said she would have loved my wife. Watching Little Red in this place this week I know it is true.

This visit is bittersweet for us, though. While the memories, whether from this week or years past, will last a lifetime, our families presence here will not. After we depart tomorrow morning, my Dad will put this place up for sale. And so, no new memories will be made in this place for us.  Perhaps someday one of the boys will return to Massachusetts, but unit 36 at The Ocean Club will belong to someone else. And they will be making memories of their own.

Dad, thank you for showing me this place many years ago, then bringing my boys to experience the Cape as well. And now, letting the circle become full this week as my family took the first vacation we have ever taken together. This is the greatest gift I have ever received. We appreciate and love you, and are eternally grateful for the memories you have both created with us, and the new ones you have allowed us to make. Thank you. I love you.

Mom, thank you. I can feel you here, with us, and it gives me such peace. I love that feeling. And I love knowing you are here.

Sis, thank you. You helped make this happen. Monday will be tough. We needed this. And like you always do, you sensed it even before we knew what was to happen. You are our families glue. I respect and admire you more than you can ever know. And I love you.

Boys, I hope you remember this week. Remember how many people love and care for you. The seeds for the memories we made here over the last few days were planted in 1986, when your Poppa and Nana fell in love. That love can still be felt on Cape Cod today. You boys are my greatest accomplishment. I love you.

Susan, thank you for accompanying us on this trip. Little Red and I would not have it any other way. We are so honored to have you as part of these new memories, and I am blessed that you are part of my family. Thank you for all you do for my girl. We love you.

And Tiffany. I love you. More than anything and more than I ever thought possible. I am worried about Monday, but I have faith that it will all be ok. Either way, I would not trade this week here with you and our family for anything n this world. You have made this vacation everything I ever imagined it to be and more. Thank you for everything you do for me and these boys, especially for putting up with us.

Ok, I think that's about the end of the sappiness. Besides, they just filled the goblet again.

Day # 990. I hope you all checked out the picture blogs I published earlier today. It has truly been an amazing week. It is GREAT to be me!

P.S. Not to sound like a broken record. But I believe in prayer. Please say one for my Little Red on Monday. I would appreciate it very much!


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