Saturday, December 24, 2016

Seasonal Magic at the Old Hotel

I told Bill the other day that one of these Christmas seasons, I'd love to gather up all the family and go have lunch at the Davenport Hotel.

When Willie and Annie were little, we would go to Spokane the day after Thanksgiving for Christmas shopping and lunch at the historic hotel in downtown Spokane.

After all, the place had a family connection, as we knew our grandmother had resided there for a time when I was a small child.  

Our Love family visits during later years were always infused with a sense for elegance and regional history in the Davenport, including Spokane's strong connection to the "White Christmas" guy himself. 

Add to that the common connection that so many people in what we used to call the Inland Empire felt and still feel toward the place.  Seems most of the locals have enjoyed their own unique Davenport experiences. 

In many of our rural minds, thoughts of "way back when in Spokane" involved strolling through the Crescent and Bon Marche Department stores---always trying not to trip on the up and down escalators---while getting a sense of downtown culture.  

I can also remember the awkward sense of never feeling quite dressed up enough while bumping elbows with sophisticated city folks who seemed so comfortable in their space. 

Still, that was okay, and I believe that over the years both groups have come closer together, not caring quite so much about the looks of the package but rather what's inside.   

For me, the grandeur and wonderment of visiting those Spokane icons maybe once a year was satisfying enough.  I could get my brief taste of city life and then go home to the farm, where I was always comfortable in my own skin and jeans. 

Twasn't that way yesterday.  I guess, with age, I've gotten past that long-held insecure country-girl syndrome and have embraced the fact that it doesn't matter much at all how we're dressed while embracing every aspect of the magical beauty that someone else, endowed with remarkable creativity, has produced for all to enjoy.  

After all, visitors really don't have time to stare at us in places like the Davenport.  

The place is mesmerizing from the moment we walk through the door, and it's obvious within moments that those strolling around or seated in the throne-like chairs or "davenports" in the restaurant and lobby are just as awe-inspired with the beauty as the next group coming through the door. 

I looked upon my experience yesterday afternoon, which was possible because Annie's hopes of catching an earlier flight from Seattle did not materialize, as a gift.

So, I had time and took my time walking around, happily anonymous and fully engaged in finding ways to chronicle this nostalgic and magical experience.  

Heck, I even used one of those fancy restrooms where ya basically have your own personal commode room.

It's kinda nice every once in a while to enjoy Mother Nature's calling atop a commode in a luxurious setting.

My only disappointment yesterday was having to leave the Davenport lobby and go out into the sloppy, slippery wet snow outside.

That disappointment, however, was lessened by my trip out the door, thanks to a lovely visit and quick photo session with the doorman, Mr. John Reed, who has been with the Davenport for 63 years. 

Turns out John was born in Clark Fork. He said he hadn't been there in some time, but he did remember his years as a member of the Sandpoint Elks Club.  

"Oh, any names?" I asked. 

"Ross Hall," he replied. 

When I told John I had graduated from high school with Ross' son Dann, his face lit up with a big smile. 

What a memorable grand finale to what I consider another of life's precious gifts in this season---the time and the time spent amidst the elegant beauty and the history.

Some day, my wish for Bill, Willie, Debbie, Annie and I to go have lunch at the Davenport will happen.  And, my sisters last night expressed an interest in touring the old hotel. 

For now, yesterday's visit was pleasantly sustaining.  Such a beautiful place!   

Blessings to all on this Christmas Eve where, here in Sandpoint, we're already blessed with a winter wonderland and the knowledge that everyone in the family is safely where they need to be for their Christmas celebrations. 


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