Even though we had already talked non-stop for 48 hours, Jenny and I stayed awake talking until 4 a.m. this morning! After not seeing each other for nine years, and not being able to talk often due to our schedules and the three-hour time difference, we had a lot of ground to cover. Though we crawled into our personal, comfy queen-sized beds well before midnight, once we relaxed in the quiet darkness we remembered all of the topics we had not covered, and let the words fly! At least three times we said, "We need to go to sleep!" but it didn't happen. And I am glad!
Regardless of our exhaustion, we forced ourselves out of bed so we could go for a morning walk around a beautiful lake outside of our hotel. It was a gorgeous morning - bright, sunny, blue skies with warm weather - and we thoroughly enjoyed the exercise.
And, I experienced something NEW!
I saw my first live snake in its natural habitat. (I do NOT like snakes. I appreciate them because God created them, but I have no desire to hang out with the scaly serpents.)
I happened to look down and thought I saw a large worm. Until it started slithering.
I hopped out of the way and squeaked (not a full scream), "Snake!"
Jenny looked over and calmly replied, "It's little."
"Um, it's a SNAKE! Size matters not!" (I can't prove it, but I think she rolled her eyes at me.)
When we turned around to walk back to the hotel, we spotted two women ahead of us who were screaming and jumping around - over the same snake.
I looked at them and said, "I know!" One of the women looked at me and said, "I didn't care until it reared its head at me and I saw that it is a baby copperhead!"
I looked at Jenny and declared, "See! THAT is a normal response to a snake!"
We continued on our way and about 100 feet later she said, "I probably should have killed it."
"How would you have done THAT?"
"Stepped on its head and squashed it."
My only response was to stare at her - like she was inSANE.
We returned to the hotel, spent a leisurely two hours getting ready for the day, and as we lugged our gear to the car, thunderclouds rolled overhead and it started to RAIN! I was in seventh heaven. Rain is my favorite part of creation, and it was a thrill to end my time in North Carolina watching the droplets fall from the sky.
We spent a couple hours at a museum enjoying unique exhibits, including all of the famous people/inventions/athletes who are North Carolina natives. My favorite was the Wright Brothers exhibit, including replicas of their original planes. Such fun!
We wanted to go somewhere unique for lunch, so we chose this place!
I laughed when I started to read the menu and said, "Now I KNOW I am not in California!"
Some of my favorites:
Shoo Mercy Sweet Potato Cakes
Low Country Blackened Catfish
Country Style Gumbo YA-YA
Pimento & Fried Pickle Burger
The atmosphere was fun, the food was terrific, and the service friendly.
If you ever get a chance - pop in!
They dot the countryside and I was mesmerized by them my entire trip.
Just as we were about to make our way onto the interstate, I spotted this gorgeous one and cried out, "The tree! STOP!"
Jenny is a kind and gracious woman. She pulled over, parked the car, let me look at it close up and then took a photo of me surrounded by the blooms so I could always remember their beauty.
(Thank you, Jen!)
My beloved grandmother LOVED trees and spent her entire life taking photos of them, with them, and in all the different seasons. When I was young I thought it was strange - who could love a tree?!? But as I grew I began to share her appreciation for the grandeur and majesty of these wonderful pieces of God's creation. I fully understand her now!
Now, as I sit in the airport waiting to board a plane bound for Tennessee, I think about our last days together and all that we shared with each other, and praise God for the gift of Jenny. What a blessing to be gifted with a friendship that has been cherished and enjoyed these past 28 years.
♥I love you, Jen!♥