Back in Winston-Salem, I viewed the map of the city which showed where the old section was which included all the old cabins and historically cool stuff. I confess, however, that I opted to spend my time in the art district. I'm glad I did because I got to observe and take pictures of lots of fun art which will eventually be posted on Facebook. And people-watching was fantastic as it generally can be in the art district of a city.
As I enjoyed the free wi-fi at the little coffee shop I was typing from last Thursday (I think it was Thursday), an elderly man of limited mental function and obviously limited funds had free run of the shop. This was unusual in that this kind of person is generally perceived to be an unwelcome distraction in a place of business of this type. But he was allowed to come in and get ice water frequently and the proprietor passed him a muffin or two and he sat at one of the tables outside of the shop enjoying his breakfast before it got too hot. Later on in an art gallery where I was chatting with the owner, I noticed that he was cleaning her outside windows and that when he was finished came in and was paid for his work. When I told her I had seen him at the coffee shop she said they had a regular family support unit downtown in the art district for several of the homeless population. What a lovely thought! An area that provided support and friendship for a group of people who were usually run off by the business owners or the police. That alone was enough to make Winston-Salem a special place in my mind!
I noticed as I wandered the galleries that there were several fiberglass cats and dogs displayed that had been painted by various artists in the area. In other cities I had seen this as well, such as Chicago's cows, Cincinnati's pigs, Lexington's horses, and before Katrina, New Orlean's fish. And according to friend Jerri, Gainseville, GA had and has chickens. These artistic interpretations were then sometimes auctioned off for a variety of reasons, some being to support the local arts council. These dogs and cats, however, were being auctioned off to support the local humane society. A very worthy cause and a fun way to raise money for it!
The kitties and I enjoyed thunderstorms during both evenings we stayed in Winston-Salem and on Friday morning were on our way to friend Al's place in Raleigh. Again there were gorgeous flowers by the roadside and if I pulled over every time I saw such loveliness I would not have made it to Raleigh before nightfall. As it was I did pull over to take pictures of some purple flowers I couldn't resist and I almost drove off the road when I saw these purple flowers mixed with the red and pink poppies further along the road. There really wasn't any room to pull over so I could get a picture but trust me, the vision was glorious!
I was warmly welcomed at Al's home by both him and his wife, Nancy, and I met their son and his wife, who is from India, and their daughter, who's husband is Egyptian and who presently still lives in Cairo while paperwork is completed for his arrival here. They're a regular United Nations family! Al has a five-year-old grandson who stays at his and Nancy's house during the week for day care and this cute little guy is your basic action-packed boy. And gorgeous with those luminous eyes that I love about the faces of the people of India. And don't forget precocious. My, my. Good luck with that, Al and Nancy! :-D
They also have a toy poodle named "Cookie" who apparently is afflicted with severe short term memory problems. She can be sitting quietly beside me having just been cuddled and petted for five minutes and as soon as I get up for whatever reason she starts barking at me. Oh, my gawd! A stranger! Hark! Hark! So we endure Cookie's wildly shrill alerts that a stranger has suddenly and mysteriously emerged in her area until she will allow me to once more cuddle and pet her. Then she settles down, nice and quiet, until I get up again. Her short term memory is so bad that she makes me feel good about mine. LOL!
In all other ways, however, she has been a delightful doggie and I accompanied Al and Cookie on their walks in the morning so she could sniff and pee her way throughout the neighborhood. Like Jaqq she has demonstrated a Napoleon complex and got all tough and brazen with the bigger dogs we encountered on the streets. And like Jaqq she sometimes shied away when the other dog would want to investigate more closely. She would also, like Jaqq, grab anything left on her level and frequently on the upper levels like the kitchen table where she would climb the chairs so she could help herself to whatever she could grab and then run off with it. It required a good deal of coaxing and outright bribery to get the object back though we did manage to surprise her and make her drop it a couple of times. I assigned to her the taxonomic rank in the same species - or is it genus - as I assigned Jaqq of Rodentia Poodlata Littlebitimus. That seemed a good place to put such a fast moving small mammal of the canine extraction.
Saturday we all went to lunch at a restaurant called "Sweet Tomato" that was mainly a giant salad bar with side areas where we could select baked goods, soup and other goodies. I stayed with the salad bar but I couldn't resist a small ice cream sundae. I hadn't had chocolate since I left Sharon's house and I felt I could use a wee bit of cold goodness. I deserved it, in the lexicon of denial afficianados everywhere.
Yesterday we went to the local North Carolina Museum of Art and apparently quite a few others had the same idea. There was air conditioning there, after all. But we had a fine old time wandering through the exhibits and I enjoyed their modern art section. People-watching was at its best in that area as the folks gazed upon installation art that pretty much blasted any notion they might have had of what art was supposed to look like. But the best part was that they had a very nice Rodin sculpture collection. Some were indoors and some out and I mostly perused the indoor pieces because it was just too muggy and hot outdoors to really enjoy those. I only took pictures of the ones I wasn't familiar with and I hope they turned out because the lighting was not wonderful for camera shots. It was hard to find a direction in which to take a picture that didn't back-light a piece thus throwing it into silhouette status. We'll just have to see.
Today, Memorial Day, is a lazy day here. We went out to lunch and then to Trader Joe's where I happily stocked up...if you can call the small amount I can carry at a time...on dried fruits and wonderful Indian microwaveable dinners. We also stopped at a 'Whole Foods' store which I had not seen before. It was a very large store full of organic foods and wonderful cheeses and baked goods, etc. We went there for produce we couldn't find at Trader Joe's and I found some instant coffee made by a company that Al said was actually good. That would be a first for me since I have generally abhorred the stuff, so I bought a jar and will try it on the road.
Now we're back at the house and I'm composing the blog and Al and Nancy are preparing a tabbouleh salad for dinner. Yeehaw! Salads and cracked wheat dishes are goot!! Veddy goot! And Nancy is making an Egyptian spinach and rice dish that I'm really looking forward to. I have not been given an opportunity to go hungry here, I'm tellin' ya!
Tomorrow I will depart and sadly leave these dear friends behind and head to the coast and Norfolk, Virginia. I want to poot around that area again having spent about six months there when my ship was in dry dock. Besides the shipyard there are glorious beaches and fun places to see, so that's my next destination.
I hope your Memorial Day has been good for you and that you know that my thoughts are with everyone on this day of remembering our fallen soldiers.
I had to change out the dehumidifier bag yesterday. The container where the water collected had completely filled and faster than I expected. Like, in one week. My hair is also in dandelion phase again which is a sure fire indicator of the humidity level if I had had any doubts about it before. Which I didn't.
There was a little hummingbird that kept showing up at the feeder right outside the window where I was typing today and every time I picked up the camera and turned it on the bird would vanish. I determined that I would never be faster than this tiny bird and I would have to live without a photo. Poop.
A dog harnessed safely in the back of a pick-up truck with travel goggles fitted to his head.
A lovely green field with a single portapotty parked right in the middle.