December 28-31: A Visit with Dennis in Savannah
November 20: My 36th Birthday
Return to the Index for 1982


NOTE:
I have a personal entry that comes here in time sequence. The page containing this entry requires a password; if you will email me at "website" at "rondougherty" dot "com" I can send one to you. The link to this personal entry is below:

Meeting Gerry Vitale
 
December 20-27, 1982
Christmas in North Carolina

 

It has been a busy Fall, and for Christmas I have planned a trip first to Charlotte to see my Mom, then Christmas at my sister's house in Elon, and then a continuation trip to Savannah to see Dennis Haggard.


On December 20th I flew to Charlotte. I had some bulky Christmas gifts, so I had to ship some of them ahead of time. My Mother and her friend Bill Michaelove came out to Douglas Airport to pick me up; I would be able to use the car my Mom still had to go up to visit my sister. I spent the afternoon of Monday as well as Tuesday and Wednesday with my Mom and her friend Bill there in Charlotte. We played some bridge and basically just visited- going out to eat a couple of times.

I would spend some time and show you where my Mom lives, but since I didn't take any pictures there on this particular visit, I'll save that for another time. Five years ago, though, my Mom sold the house on Somerset Drive and moved to a very nice condominium a few miles south of where we used to live; the condo is fairly near SouthPark, one of Charlotte's largest and most upscale malls. My Mom and Bill usually play bridge together, but he graciously let me horn in and play with my Mom; I think we must have played five or six times in the two and a half days.

On Thursday the 23rd, I borrowed my Mom's car and drove up to my sister's house. Mom and Bill would follow in Bill's car on Christmas Eve. I want to show where, exactly, my sister is, but the difficulty I have is that between my visit this Christmas and the time at which I am writing this online narrative (early 2017), a lot has changed, physically, in Elon, Burlington and North Carolina, with the result that the way one gets to my sister's farm today is much different than it was this year.


This week, to get to my sister's farm, I followed the same route that I have driven for fifteen years. Getting from Charlotte to the vicinity of Elon is a simple matter of getting on I-85 north from Charlotte towards Greensboro, and staying on that highway after it becomes coterminus with I-40 and heads more east to Raleigh.

The exit for Elon College (even that name has changed, as Elon College has become Elon University the town has changed its name officially to simply "Elon") put you on Huffman Mill Road- actually one of the streets which, if you follow it northeast, will take you to Burlington, NC, the larger city just east of Elon.

So just off the exit from the Interstate, you have to double back on Garden Road which actually goes northwest more towards Elon (blue route). It connects to South Williamson Avenue, which you take north, across US Highway 70, through the center of Elon and out to the north, eventually angling off to the northwest.

In the first decade of the 21st century, development south of Elon and Gibsonville led to a huge new shopping area along I-85, and so a new exit was constructed for access to the expressway. At the same time, a bypass was built around Elon, so that so much traffic wouldn't be going right through the center of town and right through the campus. So now, to get to the side of Elon on which my sister lives, you can get off I-85 at that new exit, and take the much-faster bypass around to her side of the college town (green route).

Anyway, once you get to the north side of Elon, my sister's farm is about three miles to the northwest, off Elon-Ossipee Road.


My sister has a really nice farm a quarter mile west of Elon-Ossipee Road. She's been in Burlington since college, and when she married Bob they bought a piece of land and built a house on it. That was twelve or thirteen years ago. Their two kids, live at home of course; Ted is 13 and Jennifer ("Jeffie") is 12.

Judy and Bob bought the land and then built a house on it; the only structure they kept when they bought the property was the old red country barn down by the road. That's where the other residents of Greyfield Farms, as Judy has begun to call it, reside; those would be my sister's horses.

There's an aerial view of my sister's property at left, but of course it doesn't show the farm as it looked this year. The biggest change between then and now (as I write this) was the construction of a new, modern, cement-floored barn up near the house, to take the place of the vintage dirt-floored old one.

I always like visiting my sister and Bob (and the kids, of course), not least because it is a chance for me to get out of my city environment and into a more pastoral one. It's good for the soul.

Of course I brought my camera, and planned on remedying my lack of pictures from my visit earlier in the year.


Of course, the most common activities at my sister's all involve horses; this time, Judy got me up on one of them. I don't recall the name of the horse (I am lucky if I can remember the names of important people), but I do recall that I couldn't seem to get the hang of riding so my rear end didn't get sore.


I am definitely not a horse person; riding looks easy, but I could never quite get the hang of it. But Judy let me walk this particular horse around the pasture, and I tried to keep it slow.

Judy has three or four horses of varying sizes; I think this was the smallest of them (which seems evident comparing my size to that of the horse.

Here are a couple of pictures that my sister took with my camera of Jeffie, the horse, and I:


I know it looks like I am hanging on for dear life, but I think I was just leaning over to pet the horse when Judy took this picture.

Jennifer wanted me to feel the top part of the horse's leg, which is what I was doing. I was not, repeat not, falling off.

Bob and Ted are not "horse people", although Bob helps my sister take care of them. But they have other interests, and so were not in the pasture this afternoon with us.


I guess I finally realized how out-of-my-element I looked and dismounted from the horse. This enabled me to take my own pictures- like the experimental closeup at right.


Jeffie took my place on the horse, and that enabled me to get a a nice picture of her and her mother. Jeffie and her mother DO share an interest in horses, although not many people can be as passionate about them as my sister.

Even so, Judy has been pleased that Jeffie seems to have inherited her love of the equine animal; it looks to me as if, when Jeffie gets of on her own in ten years or so, that she will make an effort to get a horse of her own, wherever she ends up living.

Here are a couple of pictures of Judy, Jeffie, their horse and one of the ponies they have:

I enjoyed spending time with Judy and her family before Christmas. Mom and Bill came up on Christmas Eve, and they stayed in a hotel in Burlington while I stayed at Judy's.


At right is the last picture I took of Jeffie astride her horse. And below are Mom and Bill Michaelove outside Judy's house. Mom and Bill have become closer over the past few months, which is good since Bill has moved in with my Mom in the condo on Cranford Road. He seems like a thoroughly nice man, although some of his jokes are too long. Mom seems to dote on the attention, and I think that is good for her now.


I enjoyed Christmas at my sister's a great deal. The day after Christmas the three of us returned to Charlotte and I played some more bridge with my Mom before heading down to Savannah on the 28th.

 

You can use the links below to continue to another photo album page.


December 28-31: A Visit with Dennis in Savannah
November 20: My 36th Birthday
Return to the Index for 1982