May 18, 1996: A Weekend Trip to Austin
March 30, 1996: The Mesquite Rodeo
Return to the Index for 1996

April 2-12, 1996
A Trip to North Carolina


Since I am between jobs and my time is my own for a while, I've decided to spend a week or so in North Carolina, visiting my sister in Elon and my Mom in Charlotte. Fred will be at his mother's the weekend of the 6th and 7th, so I am going to leave on Tuesday, April 2nd, and return in time to see him Friday evening, April 12th.


Getting to My Mom's House in Charlotte

I left very early on the 2nd so that I could make the 1100-mile trip to my Mom's in a single day. What with the Interstate system, getting to Charlotte is easy. I simply head out of Dallas on US 80 to connect to I-20, and then take that all the way to Atlanta. There, I bypass the city and hop on I-85 north all the way to Charlotte.

Once you get to the Charlotte area, then you have to work your way to the south side of town.

Here is a case where the maps currently available to me don't accurately reflect the roads as they existed in 1996. Back then, I-485, the loop around Charlotte, was not completed; indeed, only a small segment in far southeast Charlotte was open. Neither was the Billy Graham Parkway built and open in 1996. Either of these would have been a good way to get to the south side of Charlotte, but what I had to do back then was to continue to the interchange between I-85 and I-77 and then head south on I-77, which has been complete since the mid-1970s.

Once on I-77 south, there are a number of ways to get to my Mom's part of town; the easiest is to take the Woodlawn exit and head east. At Park Road I head south, crossing Sugar Creek and then taking a left onto Cranford Drive.

My Mom moved to the condo on Cranford Drive in 1977 when she sold my boyhood home three years after my father's death. She is quite happy there, having made friends with the residents of many of the eight units. All the units there are the same- two bedroom, two bath units, four per building, two up and two down with an open area between.


Visiting My Sister in Elon, NC

Being on my own time is neat; I have plenty of time to visit home and Florida, and plenty of time to do stuff on the weekends with Fred. My Mom and I did the things we usually do when I visit- including playing bridge once or twice a day. At one point, I made a three-day trip up to Elon to visit my sister.

Since Judy lives out in the country, I can take I-85 north all the way to the exit after Gibsonville and I can work my way north arount to the northwest side of Elon, where Elon University is. Then I can take Elon-Ossipee Road out to Lowe Road, hang a left and go a short ways down to the road to my sister's.

Judy and Bob have been living in their current house for twenty-five years now, having brought up both Ted and Jeffie there. Judy has done a great deal around the property, putting in gardens and such, and she and Bob have run fence, cut down trees and all the rest of what goes along with living in the country.

Some years ago, Judy and her horses outgrew the old red barn down by the road, and so she and Bob had a new barn built back behind their house. It has, if I remember correctly, six stalls and a tack room- all that she needs for the horses she owns and the ones she boards.

When I arrived, I had a good visit with Judy before Bob got home from his family drugstore (he is a pharmacist). She has always, it seems, done something new on the property, and I am always impressed.

Judy didn't have much to do with the new addition she showed me right away- one of her horses had, just a few weeks before, given birth to a new colt. I'm bad enough with people's names, I have no recollection of this colt's name. He was cute, but it was both hard to get close to him and hard to get him to stand still for a portrait.

I took three more pictures of the colt and his mother while we were out walking around, and you can use the clickable thumbnails below to have a look at them:

Judy and I did a lot of stuff on the computer in the evenings, and she and Bob and I went out to the Golden Corral one night, and she fixed dinner the other. I get Ted's old room (the computer room) when I'm there.

One of the relatively new activities my sister Judy and brother-in-law Bob have begun to engage in is keeping daschunds. They also have a couple of other dogs that stay mostly outside, but the daschunds are mostly inside with Judy and Bob all the time. The picture at left is Bob with one of these prized pets and the license plate that says it all. Bob (and Judy) are very attached to all their dogs (although I realize that Judy seems also to mostly attached to Murphy, a dog she rescued after it was hit by a car on Lowe Road near their properrty. As for myself, I don't know that I'd want to live with all those dogs in the house all the time (actually, I do know- I wouldn't). Cats are my pet of preference; they are much, much quieter and much, much easier to take care of and much, much nicer to have in your lap. But Bob and Judy seem to enjoy them a great deal, and that's what counts.

If I haven't mentioned it before, my sister has jumped into computers with both feet. When she isn't at work (at the local middle school) or working with her horses, she spends almost every minute on the computer, chatting with people all over the world. I'm not a "chat" person, but she seems to enjoy it.

Sometimes I worry that Judy spends too much time with the computer, but then she and Bob never really did much away from the farm anyway. Judy seems to enjoy it a great deal, and, again, that's what counts. I really enjoyed my three days on the Barbour estate, and when I left we made plans for Judy to come down to Charlotte before I went back to Dallas.


With My Mom in Charlotte

A day or two before I left to head back to Dallas, Judy drove down to Mom's condo for a visit, and Ted came by as well. (Ted, if I haven't mentioned it, is an officer with the Charlotte Police Department.)



Judy, Ted and I spent some time visiting with mom, running some errands, and going shopping at the computer store. Ted, as usual, looks entirely too serious most times. I know he takes his work very seriously, but I wish I would see him lighten up off the job, at least. But maybe that's the way policemen are.

His work is about all Ted ever talks about- that and the X-Files (on which both he and Jeffie are hooked). This picture makes him look much different than usual. He has never liked having his picture taken, but I'm not sure why. When I do take it, it's tough to get him to just act natural. But he's a really great adult, does a great job at work and looks out for his grandmother as well.

My mom, bless her heart, seems to be doing tolerably well for 84 years old. Her biggest problem seems to be her eyesight, which she says is failing rapidly. I am not sure that's entirely true, as she is still able to read the newspaper, which I can't do without my reading glasses. She can see quite well enough to get around, and she can play bridge if she concentrates and if the light is good enough. I think bright lights help her more than anything; they do well for me, too. But she is still as stylish as ever, and I expect and hope that she continues for a long time.

Judy and I correspond much more frequently now that there is email. She sends stuff out almost daily, and I respond most of the time. Email makes lots of things easier, and it's almost as much fun to find email delivered as it is a regular letter. Although I do worry that email will eventually destroy the art of letter writing in this country, and mail will be reduced to circulars, magazines, catalogs, and bills, it's nice to stay in closer touch with my sister.

I enjoyed Judy's visit for the day down here with Mom, and the four of us got a chance to visit all together and go out for a meal or two. I took a couple more pictures today, one of the three generations and one of Judy with her own car (and her own vanity plate, "PATRIKK" being the name of her arabian stallion). Here are those pictures:

I had a very nice visit at home, and I headed back to Dallas on the 11th, intending again to drive straight through to be ready to spend the weekend with Fred.

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

May 18, 1996: A Weekend Trip to Austin
March 30, 1996: The Mesquite Rodeo
Return to the Index for 1996