Old North Escape

I took advantage of several things last week: my summer schedule, my wife's patience, and my parents' generosity. Basically, I decided I needed a week out of the house to make a big push toward finishing the book. My parents agreed to put me up for that week, and my wife agreed to spend it tending to the needs the two other occupants of our apartment (Dixon and Ripley). I got a good deal of work done and am now within shouting distance of the book's end, and I also got to see a bunch of my North Carolina friends and family, some of whom appear below.

As you may know, the Cashwell clan and the Macknee clan have been friendly for lo, these many decades. (I think we met when I was in 4th grade, so call in 1972.) I was shocked to realize, however, that I had not met with one member of the Macknee family for a solid decade: Salem, whose daughter Abby we feted in Seattle a few months back. Though we're regularly interacting online, we had not actually seen each other (we calculated) since her parents' 40th wedding anniversary, and since they just celebrated their 60th, Salem and I reckoned it was time to fix that problem. I borrowed my dad's car and made my way to her place in Durham, where we enjoyed lemonade, a nice Mexican meal at Dos Perros, and a chance to look around the lake behind her house (which is where my parents keep their kayak, which Salem has on semi-permanent loan.)

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A few days later, I headed to the Open Eye Cafe for a meeting with musician and fellow CHHS alum Laura Thomas, who brought along her daughter Hannah, a UNC-Asheville senior who's been bitten by the birding bug. Laura patiently put up with our discussion of woodpeckers and cranes, and Hannah then showed a similar saintly streak by indulging us as we talked about the old days of the Chapel Hill music scene. And they brought a book to sign, too:

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That evening got to enjoy an evening of lively conversation and good music with old buddies Mike Beard and Bryon Settle, not to mention a visit with Mike's lovely wife and kids.

After taking a day off to recover, I got up early on Friday and hit the birding trail with Bo Howes (CHHS '83), now of the Triangle Land Conservancy. He led me to a parcel of Mason Farm out behind the Finley Golf Course clubhouse, and on our two-mile walk through the woods we were able to log a number of First-of-the-Year birds for me, including Indigo Bunting, Acadian Flycatcher, Prairie Warbler, Summer Tanager, and Blue Grosbeak. We also spotted several cooperative butterflies, including this one, which Bo identified as a "Red-spotted Purple," which is a color morph of the White Admiral:

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I spent Friday evening with my brother, hunting for a restaurant where we'd eaten as kids; as anyone who's visited Chapel Hill will now, there aren't many left. I'd already eaten at Breadmens and Allen & Sons earlier in the week, and we couldn't come up with any other places off the top of our heads. (Since then, we've recalled a handful of places we used to go, including Ye Olde Waffle Shop, and a few old joints that we didn't frequent in our youths, such as Linda's, Hunam, and the Carolina Coffee Shop.) We ended up at Squid's, where we had a passable seafood dinner and set up plans to get brunch with his family on Sunday.

DSC03426.JPGhat Sunday involved a drive to Dave & Pam's place in Raleigh, some excellent chicken salad, fresh asparagus, and plenty of coffee, as well as a chance to hang out with Aunt Susan for a few hours. I also got thumped in a game of PIG with my nephews, though Dave emerged victorious in the end.

By the time I was loaded up to go to the train station, I had knocked out another 15,000 words and was poised to finish things up this week. I snapped one last pic before I left, since I didn't have one of my host and hostess--well, not a recent one--and off I went. 

DSC03440.JPGI'm now home, where I've cleaned up one dog-related accident, eaten a tasty Cuban sandwich, and successfully got Dixon to an audition: just another day in RVA. But thanks to everyone down Carolina way, especially Mom & Dad; it was great to have a chance to get a little pine tar on my feet again.

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This page contains a single entry by Peter Cashwell published on August 22, 2016 9:44 PM.

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