We spent eleven full days visiting our son and his family in North Carolina. Any one of those days could easily be considered a favorite. We’re not hard to please… just sitting around drinking coffee qualifies. Did the occasional afternoon nap qualify? Yes. Yes it did.
Fortunately we share a fondness for haunting antique shops, good conversation, soaking up history and eating good food. Giving us a rest from our long trek east, David chauffeured us everywhere. And Kelly cooked her heart out. She is clearly the best macaroon baker east of the Mississippi… likely the west too.
There is one day, however, that ranked as my favorite of our summer trip.
Wilmington is our usual coastal destination, with a stop for food at the Fish House. This time David wanted to check out Fort Fisher. His friends camp there and had recommended it as a great place to take the family. Just a bit farther down the coast, we added it to the day.
During the Civil War, Fort Fisher was a confederate outpost which kept the port of Wilmington open to blockade runners. It eventually became the last supply route open for Robert E. Lee and his troops. On December 24, 1864, a massive federal amphibious assault on the fort began. And on January 15, 1865, Fort Fisher fell to the union army.
There is little left of the fort today. And the beauty of the coast line, marshland grasses, trees and flowers belies what happened there over 140 years ago. We walked the raised sidewalk, read the story of the fort posted along the way and snapped pictures. I felt the same quiet reverence I’d experienced at Gettysburg, Antietam, Pearl Harbor… the day my father died.
Battle over. Peace has come.
At six years old, Nickson hopped, skipped, and made sounds that any six-year-old would make… until David spoke up, calm but firm…
… “Nickson. Be respectful. People died here”… , words that didn’t surprise me coming from an army veteran who’s seen the sacrifice of war first hand. He explained some of what happened at the fort, pointed out areas along the path, pictures… all the while demonstrating respect to the generation he’s raising.
On any other day his words could easily be,
…be respectful, someone made that for you
…be respectful, someone paved the way for you
…be respectful, someone taught you
…be respectful, someone tried their best to love you
The list could go on…
Just. be. respectful.
It’s a favorite moment to watch a son teach the next generation.
So our time at the North Carolina coast moved right along. We walked on the beach, splashed in the waves, lunched at the Fish House and did our best to hit as many antique stores as our tired feet would allow.
Then David drove us home.
Nickson fell asleep.
So did I.
And I respectfully submit, that was my favorite day.