Parental Visitation

25 08 2008

Taking a short break from the blog hiatus to comment on my visitation to the parents…

Firstly, if anyone hasn’t taken a long-distance train ride in a sleeper car, I highly recommend doing so. It’s great to unplug, read, and watch the world go by. I had a small “roomette” which had two chairs facing each other which reclined and joined to become a bed. A second bed descended from the wall and had a harness type structure to keep the person in the top bunk from falling out. there was a small shelf to keep your bags and some wall hooks to hang stuff. Also included was a sink which folded out of the wall and I discovered that what looked like a shelf actually lifted up to become the toilet!!! While this was no big deal for someone travelling solo, if I were with someone else, it could become problematic, especially if it were with a female!!!

The food actually was not that bad and a step up from plane food. We got a morning paper and we took our meals in the dining car and were included in the fare price. There was also a separate lounge where you could buy snacks, sandwiches, drinks, etc.

My parents have been divorced for a couple of years and so I decided to stay in downtown Raleigh at a hotel near the train station and close to the night life. Friday I spent with my mother, who is adjusting to living in a small house after living in big ones her whole life, but all in all is doing well. She doesn’t work, but spends her days with her friends and has a friendship with someone who’s wife left him some time ago. She has “done up the house real purty” as they say in the South. All in all she is doing well. I did not get a chance to see my surviving grandmother … my mother and I suggested that 3pm in the afternoon would be a good time for her to stop by and visit, which would give me time to spend with her and still make the 90 minute trip back to Raleigh in time for dinner with a friend of mine. After 5 i simply couldn’t wait any longer, and we couldn’t get in touch with her, so I left.

PS, she showed up at 7:00pm. Typical. I love her to death, but typical. Oh well, next time.

Daddy is doing well, and living with his father, helping to take care of him and is enjoying the time he spends there as well as with his girlfriend. Granddaddy’s mind is very much there and is as sharp as ever, but he is very much aware of how frail his body is and doesn’t leave his easy chair much because he is simply too weak. The fact that his body doesn’t work like it used to really bothers him and it is quite a sobering experience to see him so weak. I have lost two grandparents before, one grandfather in a car accident and a grandmother to breast cancer, so the losses there were kind of sudden since i had been living in New York and since my parents would come to visit me, I didn’t go to North Carolina much … sometimes two would go by before I saw them. I did visit their graves and told them I missed them and loved them and looked forward to being with them again when the Lord saw fit to “call me home.” (Southerners have no end of pithy expressions!)

It was great to spend time with Daddy and his girlfriend. As most Southerners do, most socializing is spent in the context of a meal, or the time after that. For brunch, we went to a place that actually served “brains and eggs,” which I had never seen before! To be sure, people had served pig brains on occasion for breakfast while I was growing up, but I this was the first time I had seen it on a menu. And no, I did not try them. After lunch, we split up and I went on a self-guided tour of the State Capitol and a couple of the museums. There was an exhibit on the Dead Sea Scrolls, which I hope to catch again if i go back in December. Finally, Daddy, Ann and I had drinks and appetizers at a yummy oyster bar in town.

Sunday, I came back home, also by train. I had a lot of time to think about a lot of things. Being on a train and watching the world go by tends to make one reflective. I decided that if i could work it out I would try and visit North Carolina again in December, mainly so I can be sure I spent time with Granddaddy. He has always been a man of few, but profound words, and the hour or so i or anyone spends with him is genuinely appreciated and loved. Staying in the hotel worked out just fine so I could determine my own schedule, so I’d probably do that again. Raleigh is a nice town really and if I ever moved back to North Carolina, I could see myself living there.

Even though I”ll never quite be a native, New York is definitely my home now and wouldn’t trade it for anything. But North Carolina will always be a part of my blood bone and soul, for better or for worse.

I’ll speak more about my thoughts on the train at a later time, perhaps tonight or tomorrow or the next day (I’m still in summer mode after all!)

Glad to be back and looking forward to catching up on everyone soon.

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4 responses

25 08 2008
Robert Thomas

Sounds like a great trip Rev. Boy. I have been missing your posts and are glad that you are going to be back in the saddle again!

25 08 2008
Reverend boy

Thanks Robert, it’s good to be back. I look forward to posting more stuff about my trip soon.

25 08 2008
FranIAm

A thoughtful and reflective post – and I can understand why you enjoyed the trip – train, family and more.

Stay unplugged and relax. We await you when you are ready to return!

26 08 2008
Rob

Glad to know how your trip is so far. Email me when uyou have a chance, my computer didn’t save a bunch of backed up contact info for people, which is why you’ve had no “Today’s Verse” lately. Ugh

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