Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Very Special Spring Break

Last year, Spring Break came and went, and my husband and I didn't even notice.  When you are retired, who cares about Spring Break?  This year, with both of us working again, we wondered if we would make it until we had a week off.

My husband has never liked going anywhere for Spring Break.  He's always liked to stay home and rest.  I usually go visit my mom or the kids.  This year, I just wanted to stay home and catch up on my rest.  I had also hoped to clean out the flower beds, organize the basement, clean out some closets, and wash the windows.  Funny how ambitious my mind is.  In reality, I am just hoping not to get behind on the laundry and not mess up the house too much while we are off from work and relaxing.  I also hoped to get out of Dodge (Pueblo) for at least one day.

So, about two weeks ago, my husband told me he had decided that he would surprise me with a minication.  [translation:  very small vacation]  He said he had booked us a room at the Brown Palace in Denver for the first Saturday night of Spring Break.  He also booked reservations for tea at the Brown and for Sunday brunch at the Brown.

Little did I know that the best was yet to come.  He had booked a suite for us.  Just before we reached the  door of the room, I had said, "Oh look, I think we are staying in the same room as we did last time."  He responded with, "No, I guarantee you we are not staying in the same room."  Then, the attendant approached the door to our room, a corner room, and opened the door.   I was literally shocked when I looked inside.  "Why, this looks like a suite."  Sure enough, before my unbelieving eyes was his well kept surprise for me.

This was what I saw first.

During the Eisenhower Administration, when I was growing up in Colorado, The Brown Palace was often in the news.  It was called the Western White House.  I clearly remember when Eisenhower would be visiting Denver and staying at this wonderful old hotel.  Built in 1892, it opened its doors just one month before my paternal grandmother was born in Florence, Colorado.  It has been open every day since.  Few things, say Colorado to me quite as much as The Brown Palace.  It links me to my family's long tenure in this state, and is a major part of the proud history of the state I love.  It is uniquely Colorado.  (For those of you who are interested, click fun facts about The Brown Palace to read more about this historical spot.)

It has always been one of my favorite places to visit whenever I am in the neighborhood, even if it has just meant walking through the lobby and making my way up the wonderful wrought iron lined staircases to the seventh floor.   Once, when just walking through the place on a tour, a friend and I searched for the two upside down panels of the iron grill work that "ring the lobby."

I love the "wrought iron panels that ring the lobby from the third to the seventh floor."

I love the unique shaped walls covered with rose themed wallpaper

So, this past weekend, I could really barely believe that we were actually staying in one of her grand old suites.   I loved the stately, old look of our room.  Note the curved walls that speak to the location of the room.  It is a corner room  on the Tremont and 17th Street side of the building.

Jim, looking quite presidential, tried out the desk.

The bed was very comfortable.

The bathroom was very nice.

Jim practiced using his camera while I tried out the desk.  I'd like to have this room to write in on a regular basis!

My thank you note to my dear sweet husband...

My teacher look...

Here is a shot of the lobby where tea is held.

Before long, it was time for tea.  So we made our way downstairs.

Tea time...

When we got back up to the room, I heard bag pipes.  Finally, I thought to look out the window.  Sure enough, a bride and groom had just walked from The Trinity United Methodist Church across the street to a reception to be held at the hotel.  A bag piper was heralding their arrival.  "Oh how romantic and exciting," I thought.

 I missed being able to get a photo of the bride and groom and the bag piper, but I did get a photo of the bridal party.

Our weekend did not end with tea, but my husband said, "Enough with the camera already."  So, the photo log stops here.

We walked down the Sixteenth Street Mall to the movie theater where we watched, The Lincoln Lawyer.  I loved the movie and highly recommend it.  My husband is a real fan of Michael Connelly's books.  Based on the movie, I may have to start reading his books.

We had dinner in the Ship Tavern at the Brown.  The hamburger was wonderful!

We walked to Larimer Square and back to the hotel in the moonlight of the Super Moon.

We then got up Sunday morning for the amazing Brown Palace Sunday Brunch.  We actually had free tickets for the brunch which is why we had decided to go to Denver during Spring Break.  I just didn't expect my husband to also book the 'sweet' room that he did.   I wish I had photos of the brunch, but my husband nixed the idea.  Just trust me; it was really, really good and beautifully prepared.

Sitting at brunch, listening to the jazz quartet, watching the people from various stages of life enjoy a special Sunday Brunch, I couldn't help but reflect on the past year.  With tears in my eyes, I felt I needed to thank my husband for being by my side during the worst year of my life.  I know I would not have made it without him.

He has sat and watched over me as I have grieved.  He has given me space to grieve with the knowledge that he was always just a few steps away,  He has made sure my every need was met.  His quiet, solid strength, his wise counsel in all matters surrounding my daughter's death, his willingness to take care of those legal matters that I just couldn't deal with in the beginning, his constant support, his love, his ability to try and make special memories for me have all caused me to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I was greatly blessed by a provident God when He gave me this man for a husband.

Sometimes, I feel such regret that he has had to suffer along with me.  I guess I feel guilt also.  He did nothing to deserve this tragedy.  I know none of us did, but it hurts to know that the actions of others hurt  those around them so deeply.

I said to him, "Jim, I really must say this.  You didn't deserve to go through all that you have had to go through in the past year.  Thank you for being there.  Thank you for being you.  I'm sorry you have had to suffer with me this past year."  He said, "I'm sorry too, dear, not for my sake, but for yours."

Do you see why I love him?  I am truly greatly blessed to call this man my husband.


  1. Sally, you are married to an angel! What a truly beautiful guy. What a blessing to have somebody who is so kind and loves you with all his heart, putting your needs even before his. I just wrote about the ying and yang of life. You've had to weather such incredible grief, but you're blessed with a husband who is helping you through it.

  2. Oh, Sally, what a beautiful place. What a beautiful man. The tears are stinging my eyes as I comment.

  3. My heart is open as tears run down my cheeks after reading this, Sally. I also think you are so fortunate to have such a wonderful partner.

    And many many thanks to you for the pictures of the Brown Palace. I never even visited it when I lived in Colorado, but it has figured prominently in many stories I've heard over the years.

    I wish for you the healing from this incredibly hard year will continue. Your ability to write about it must be helpful, I know it was for me. Thank you.

  4. wow what an amazingly beautiful place. it was gorgeous score one for the hubby.so happy you had a great time.

  5. Lovely, lovely post. And what a surprise break you got!

    I'd say your husband knows the meaning of that old vow, "for better or for worse."

  6. What a tender and special post. It's obvious he loves you as much as you love him. That's what it takes to make a beautiful marriage. I am so glad you had him by your side this past year and hope you will have many years to come at each other's side.

  7. AWWWW your post made cry and smile and cry and smile!!! What a wonderful surprise! God Bless you both!!! Blessings, Joanne

  8. I read this post with tears in my eyes. I'm so happy you and Jim have each other, and that you had this amazing vacation experience.

    Funny that he decided no more pictures. I love the ones of you, and hope I get to see the place for myself someday.

  9. Best "minication" I've heard about. Is there any connection between The Brown Palace and the Unsinkable Molly Brown? Wasn't she a wealthy, high-society person in Denver in the late 1800s?

    Anyway, thx. for the recommendation for Lincoln Lawyer. I too am a Michael Connelly fan, and can't wait to see the movie.

  10. Lovely. The Brown Palace is definitely a landmark, and it always makes me feel special, too, to stay in a place where so many history-makers have gone before. Tea, a fabulous brunch, and the SuperMoon... all terrific additions to a loving minication.

  11. This week is spring break in Oregon and the thing that I am enjoying is that I'm not getting early morning phone calls asking me to sub.

    This was a lovely tribute to your husband. You are blessed, as is he to have a wife that appreciates him.

    I stayed at the Brown Palace years ago when I was in Denver for a conference. I seem to recall that I was impressed that Beatles stayed there.

    Since it's spring break I've been going to movies this week with a friend who hasn't yet retired. We saw the Lincoln Lawyer and enjoyed it. Quite by chance I am now reading The Brass Verdict by Connelly...picked up the hardback at Big Lots for only $3.00. Want me to send it to you when I'm done with it?

  12. Glad to have found your delightful blog. (I am a current English teacher.)

    Thanks for the movie review. I have been wanting to see the movie!

  13. So now I am crying. Please know that I feel your loss - as I have daughters. And again I feel your love for the special man in your life. I have one too and I try to tell him every day.
    Wow. I'm glad I found you.
    I'm glad you are retired and can enjoy life.
    You wrote such a beautiful tribute to the Brown Palace that I felt I'd been there. Loved that rounded wall. Too I liked knowing all the history.
    How fun to have such a surprise.
    I'm learning to not just enjoy the day but to enjoy the moments. With that said I'm going to make a cup of camomile tea and work on my novel.
    Thanks for visiting me and for your comment.
    Blessings, Barb

  14. PS
    Why do we women want to record everything, even the food???? That's funny. I do the same thing.

  15. Sally, you took on this spring break too. Lovely. What a sweetie you have!

  16. See why we allowed Jim in as an honorary member of our sister club? He's a dear man, and we're all blessed to have him in our lives.

  17. What a wonderful and romantic gift this was -- and what a beautiful spot! Oh, every photo looked more elegant than the one before -- and you. You looked so happy.

    I believe there are angels on earth and if we are very lucky, we get to spend a good chunk of our life with one. I think Jim is your angel. You know, no one asks for some of the bad things that happen to them -- that goes for you and for Jim. But to have someone with whom to share that journey, as challenging and painful as it is -- can make things a little better. I can tell you two love one another very much, and that, my friend, is a great gift.

  18. What an elegant hotel!!

    And what a sweet (suite) (sorry) :), wonderful, gift your husband gave you. He sounds like a very compassionate and loving husband.

  19. Sally, I'm happy to learn that you have a Husband who knows when to pamper you. You deserve it! I actually didn't realize that tea is served routinely at the Brown. I've tried to make reservations for the Christmas tea but can never get on the list in time (I'd like to take my Granddaughters). Perhaps I'll just have a Girls' Day and take them other than during the Christmas season!

  20. What a blessing to have your loving husband by your side during such a terribly painful time -- and how great that you could share some fun moments at the beautiful Brown Palace. Many years ago, when I was grieving the loss of an infant daughter, someone told me that if I could learn to laugh and enjoy life between my recurring times of anguish and grief, I would be stronger when the pain came again -- and I found that to be true. It sounds like your very special Spring Break was just that!

  21. What lovely surprise. It's a joy to see your teacher look photos in the collection.


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