So, we reach the unofficial halfway point of the Summer: July 4th or US Independence Day. And, I want to write something this week but am again juiced after wrapping up class 3 of this graduate program (94 on final project, yay! So, I’ll just write a bit about what was a relatively nice weekend with friends and my girlfriend.
So, we left on Thursday to a small North Carolina town called Lumberton, where food is the thing. Our primary reason for going there was to celebrate a friend’s birthday and special occasion, and we did it up in style. I met a couple of people I hadn’t before, as well as getting to chat briefly with my cousin for only the second time this year. That is a big change to which I continue to adjust, just the fact that we’re starting to drift into our own circles. I know of course that this is to be expected as our lives begin to coalesce more and more around those of our partners.
Anyway, all of this chatting with folks familiar and not was great, offering support to my long-time friend was even better, but the real fun was in the eating! We went to, and took over, a Lumberton establishment called Candy Sue’s. This place has relocated 3 times, from a small former gas station to a warehouse a block long. I am told that they may have slightly overdone it spacewise, hoping initially that downtown Lumberton would develop around them. This hasn’t really happened, probably for the same reasons it hasn’t in many towns; promised money is just drying up.
Even so, these folks do have some good food! They shut us in a private banquet room, meaning that the only noise was generated by our party of 14 or so. And eventually that noise did become voluminous.
So too were the portions. We were paired off, and each two individuals got two main items and four sides in what were called “Bottomless Bowls,” which could be refilled upon request. I had meatloaf, mac and cheese, and green beans. My partner ate their barbecue specialty with dumplings and another vegetable I can’t now remember. I could have eaten some of hers, but was so stuffed after two plates of my own that I needed nothing else. I topped that off with some lemonade that was, ok, probably could have been better though. They also had real southern tea, which is to say sugar with a little tea in it, but I had already had some less sweet tea before arriving.
After consumption, we piled back into the fifteen-passenger van in which we had come, and kept it rocking while going back to my friend’s home, where we partied a bit longer and bounced around to my cousin’s iPod playlist. We also consumed delicious cupcakes, and I know it was delicious because it took me three napkins to get all of the vanilla frosting off of my lips. Ha, ha. Finally, we headed back to the new SpringHill Suites Lumberton to grab a few seconds of shut-eye before heading home the next day.
Much of the rest of the weekend was just relaxing with my girlfriend, and realizing the unexpected joy of having someone share in something I love. It’s silly I know, but I was touched by the act of her joining me in my routine of listening to NPR broadcasts at night. I often snatch a few seconds of listening while she is otherwise occupied, and then turn it off once she returns. But this time she asked me not to, and we laughed, and jokingly groaned, over some of the academically dense books they reviewed. It just showed me, as I already know, that I have to continue getting used to opening all of myself, even those things that I think maybe others won’t necessarily like, to someone who is getting close to me. I’ve just so rarely experienced it, as I’m only now in my longest relationship of a year and three months, but I’m cherishing every moment.
And excitedly, it looks like we will take a different sort of vacation rather than going to the beach, which will doubtlessly be done many more times. In a couple of weeks, we plan to head into the Blue Ridge Mountains and Asheville North Carolina. I am looking forward to it, and will probably capture my experience in some way. Till then, have a happy and safe 4th and a great Summer.