It’s difficult to understand this place, Capon Springs, WV , until you visit yourself. It’s a small “resort,” nestled right across the Virginia border not too far from Winchester.
Capon has been a getaway for DC politicos for over a hundred years. It’s less than a two-hour drive from the Capital.
Lisa’s mother started going to Capon with her parents when she was in elementary school. They met family and friends there the third full week in August, and over sixty years later, we still do the same.
It’s quaint and unique. Steeped in tradition, very little has changed since I first arrived in 1993.
There is a spring fed pool that stays at a cool 68 degrees. Some call it refreshing; I call it sterilizing. Heat it? Absurd! It’s always been that way.
BINGO is on Wednesday night. This year someone suggested we move that event from the traditional venue, The Meeting House, to the covered pavilion on the golf course. You would have thought someone suggested we dig up the golf course. All of the kids sit on The Meeting House stage during this annual event. Michelle said she would boycott BINGO if it moved.
“I like sitting on the stage! There is no stage at the pavillion. I’m NOT going if they move it!!”
The same families come to Capon year after year. Some are blood relatives; some may as well be.
It’s often the place where you get your first kiss. Curfew’s at 11, but if you’re between the ages of 16 and 25, it’s tradition to break it.
If you grew up coming to this place, it’s like magic. For Jesse, Lisa’s sister Sallie and for my kids, it’s the best week of the year. There aren’t words to describe the excitement, the buildup for this reunion.
We spent several weeks exchanging family emails about our entry into the Friday night talent show this year. Although there isn’t a winner, you want your family to show well. Stephanie turned 13 in June – that means she was finally eligible for the mixed doubles shuffleboard tournament. I was her proud partner, we made it to the second round!
To get to Capon from the east, you drive over a dirt mountain road. In our family, tradition calls for John Denver’s “Almost Heaven, West Virginia,” to be playing on the iPod the moment your tires hit gravel.
The first time Lisa brought me we were engaged. We left Raleigh after work on a Friday night and hit the mountain at around midnight. As the car eased over the hill and winded around the curves in the pitch dark, I wondered if perhaps this woman I loved was taking me somewhere to torture and kill me.
“Where in the hell are we going? This is like a scene from a horror movie.”
As we rounded the final corner of the three-mile Capon driveway, small 19th century buildings began to appear – and a calm fell over my body. That relaxed state doesn’t leave until you depart.
There is no cell phone service at Capon. Only one building has internet access. You’re essentially unplugged for seven whole days.
Although I’ve grown to love this place, it was part of Lisa’s DNA. I feel so guilty that I get to go, and she doesn’t. I really enjoy the week, but she adored it.
If I could give her a gift, if I could share one thing with her, I’d give her my spot in the Capon week. I gladly stay at home and let her return, once each year, to the place she loved so much.
She should be there, not me.
Book Update: Laughter, Tears and Braids
Several of you found my book, Laughter, Tears and Braids on Amazon last week. We took it down because I found five typos. It’s going back up to be released on September 11. If you’re brave enough to order a copy, consider doing so on the 11th. My publisher says big sales on the first day will help in the world of Amazon rankings. More to come next weekend, including a link.