On Wednesday morning, I overslept – slept right through the alarm, I guess – but was awakened 17 minutes later by the ringing telephone.  Bad news: Paul had died.

We got up confused – bumbled our way to readiness for our day trip to Salisbury.   But we finally got on the road.  Once there, we stopped by one of the rail fanning sites and chatted with Steve, another rail fan.  We had the job of letting him know about Paul.  Steve said he’d never seen Bill without Paul (not quite spot on, but you get the idea).

We grabbed a chicken biscuit and went on to the North Carolina Transporation Museum, located in Spencer NC. (Here I digress, Spencer becomes Salisbury along the road.) At the Transportation Museum, we looked at the exhibits in way we’d never seen them before.  There were no crowds, as there always are on Rail Fan Day and in the Bumper to Bumper Car Museum, it was actually cool.  Bill was able to take lots of pictures, including those of the new (not yet finished) exhibit concerning NC Lining Bar Gangs (Gandy Dancers) that was dedicated on Tuesday during Black History Month.  The Museum does a nice job of telling the social as well as the mechanical and economic history of the growth of the railroad.

After we left the museum, we went to the Wye (Salisbury Junction) where we met a couple of rail fans and photographed three trains.

Then supper, and on to Laughing Sky Books, where poet Jenni Russell hosted the store’s first open mic (scroll down).  Jenni’s husband Jack (Poet Jack Anders) acted as MC. A small but appreciative crowd listened to prose and poems.   Jessie Carty was one of the poets who read. Jenni hopes to have future open mics about every three months.

We got home in time to catch the second half of the Duke game.  The stupid Dookies won.

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After that darkness we call nighttime, the alarm rang.  This time I heard it.  And up we got to greet our friend Vic (not to be confused with our Victor, who’s our son), who had planned to drop by.  Good news:  Vic has an extra ticket for the Wake Forest game, and would Bill like to go?  Duh. Vic left,  we ate sandwiches, and Bill went to meet Giles to get his hair cut.

Bill was only back for about an hour when we had to leave for the Founder’s Day Convocation at Wake Forest University, where Anthony Parent, my thesis adviser, was speaking. Weathering Wake: African-American Experience” concerned the history of blacks at Wake Forest. Parent was brilliant, as he always is.

Anthony Parent

(photo Windows on Wake Forest)

We planned to see him at the reception following. We couldn’t find him, so we decided to eat.  After all, Wake Forest can throw a fine party.  Hors d’oeuvre included not only veggies and dip, breads and cheeses, but chicken and shrimp on skewers, and petit fours.    Wine was poured, coffee was brewed.  Caterers gathered empty plates. Bill was going to miss his ride to the game.

Finally, we found Tony, who looked radiant in his doctoral robe and cap.  His smile was beautiful.  Finally, he is getting the attention he deserves.  Tony Parent is the best teacher I ever had.  I love him.  We talked briefly, and Bill and I rushed home.

Phone calls indicated we crossed paths with Vic on Ransom Road, Vic in a car we don’t recognize, a car that belongs to Steve.  We don’t know Steve.   Bill drove to meet Vic to walk to the Wake Forest game.    Bill met Vic then Steve.  They were all in their seats by tip-off.  I watched on television.  The Demon Deacons won.  Wake beat State 65-78.

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Today all we have to do is prepare to go to Mooresville for Paul’s memorial service.  He will be buried in Arlington (in 4- 6 months) but Saturday will include celebration of his life, followed by a service with full military honors, including a 21-gun salute, probably in the rain.