Once a month, when I was about thirteen years old, I used to accompany a friend to The Cove Hotel in Panama City, Florida, where her father did the books for the elderly lady who owned the hotel. But even then, The Cove was older than she was. Built in 1926, it was two stories of pink stucco, surrounded by huge trees, and set on the shore of St, Andrews Bay off the Gulf of Mexico. I thought it was beautiful.
For my trips to the Cove, my mother made sure I took the proper clothing. That meant a dress for dinner, along with the right shoes. Usually, that was a sun dress and strappy white sandals. Dinner was served at a certain time, on spotless white tablecloths, with starched white napkins and a lot of heavy silverware, properly set. My friend and I felt like princesses. But always, there was something we looked forward to that was even better. The Miracle. And we could make it happen ourselves. (more…)