North Carolina

I have decided that from now on, I want every weekend to have five days. I don’t care where the five days come from, whether it means that we borrow a few days from the months we don’t like (I vote we get rid of February and March) or we just make up new day names (how about a Vinoday, a Dancerday, and a Dwadleday?)  I just want five days a week to be weekend-ish.

Last week Top Cat and I tried out this new five-day-weekend arrangement that I’d like to negotiate with the universe, and we went away (on an airplane!) for the weekend, which started on Wednesday afternoon (after we got off the plane) and ended on Sunday night (we took the plane back to Long Island on Monday morning). (Plane travel is so grotty that it cannot be counted in as part of the weekend-ish scenario.)

I can’t say that we were at the top of our game on this trip. Top Cat forgot to reserve a car and I forgot to pack a toothbrush. But it only takes about 10 minutes to get a car at Raleigh Airport and it’s not hard to get a toothbrush at Bynam’s Drug Store, where I got to eavesdrop on the ladies who were taking about a guy named Donny Joe, not the one who works at the church but the one who makes those birthday cakes that everyone likes.

So, yes, we had landed in southern America, and as soon as we hit the bricks there, which on the cusp of December does not mean that all your good porch-sitting days are over, I knew I would LOVE this place . . . 

. . . because you can bring your Sadie DoG to Santa’s village to get her picture taken (Sadie’s mom told her: Ears Up, Sadie; Ears Up!):

In those last two photos I tried to drop a clue about where we went (check out the flags) but I won’t be coy any longer. We went to the little town of New Bern, North Carolina (pop. 26,524) for no reason but we were on a tour of visiting’ our southern friends and New Bern was on the map.

They have a thing about bears in New Bern. So does old Bern, a city in Switzerland that has lent its coat of arms to their Tar Heel namesake.

Bern and New Bern have a lot in common. They are both on maps, and one is ranked among the Top 10 places in the world to live for quality of life and is the de facto capital of Switzerland from where the Universal Postal Union operates, which coordinates postal policies among member nations of the U.N. and has established that:

  1. There should be a uniform flat rate to mail a letter anywhere in the world
  2. Postal authorities should give equal treatment to foreign and domestic mail
  3. Each country should retain all money it has collected for international postage.

and the other was the birth place of Pepsi-Cola.

During our two-day perusal of New Bern, we went on a pub crawl (first night) that led us to enter our first Trivia Night contest (second night). We came in third, and if I had known which order of monks have 6 million of their bones buried in Rome (the Capuchins) or the name of the largest Native American tribe (it’s the Cherokee, not the Sioux) I could have come in 2nd. However, our 3rd prize covered our bar bill, so, Nice!

We saw the sun set over the Trent River . . . 

. . . and then we walked into town for dinner at a place where the chef was a guy from Baltimore so we knew the crab cakes would be awesome. And they were.

Day Three put us in the small town of Washington (pop. 9,801), where all the boats docked on the Pamlico River are required to be festively attired for the Holiday season:


It was almost 8 o’clock when we walked through the empty downtown (no pub crawl this night) :

But the next day we were back out on Main Street for the Christmas Parade:

Later, I got to meet this goat (her name is Eleanor):

I didn’t get to meet these Scotties, but I  LOVE THEM:

I LOVE THIS GUY TOO:

Days Four and Five were celebrated in the town of Oriental (pop. 882), where I got to visit my freind’s famous, hand-made Blue Bottle garden:

. . . and her new cat, Nieko, who is doing her best to teach their old DoG, Jack (who is not that crazy about little cats at all), some advanced catology re: the Two Bodies/One Space Theorem of Napping:

Seriously, I want to get in on that velvet cushion.

It was a very good weekend.

The quote that I am using for my header today is from Ernest Howard Crosby (1856 – 1907) and it describes how I feel about living in America these days. Right before I started to type this blog I listened to  Al Franken speak from the floor of the Senate in order to resign his seat as the junior Senator from Minnesota and I’m very sad. I’m very sad that he had to resign while there is a Republican sitting in the White House who has bragged, on tape, about his numerous sexual assaults on women, and while there is a pedophile running for the Senate in Alabama with the full support of his party. . . the Republican party, of course. I’m sad that America has gone bat-shit crazy.

It is clear that all a Republican has to do is simply deny all allegations, and their colleagues in the Senate and House will just shrug their shoulders, or pretend that it’s a matter for “the people” to decide. The Democrats, on the other hand, have made clear that they believe what women say and there will be zero tolerance for sexual harassment, and they mean it. They actually live up to the values they say they represent but Jesus, I’m tired and sad about being on the right side when I imagine that Donald Trump, Roy Jones, and U. S. Representative Blake Farenthold (he’s the guy from Texas’ 27th district who owes the taxpayers $84,000 for settlement of his sexual harassment case) are celebrating that they are members of the Republican party today.  And their wives, I’m sure, are thankful that they are married to such godly men who stand for the Christian values that will make American great again.

However: North Carolina GOP Sen. Thom Tillis, the finance chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (which removed their financial support of Roy Moore on Nov. 10) said the Senate Republicans’ campaign arm will be “standing firm” against helping Moore and, if he is elected, has called for an ethics investigation into allegations of sexual assault and misconduct against him.

Well, that’s something. But it’s not enough to not make me a little less homesick for the America I used to be proud of.

Photo credit: Getty Images

Thank you for letting me be part of your pre-weekend preparations. Whether you are porch sitting, pub crawling,  trivia contesting,  parading in your finest red jammies, or overthrowing the patriarchy this weekend, I hope it renews your spirit and refreshes your passion for your mission in life. I hope you get to hear your favorite Christmas carol and that you sing along and dance around and shake off the grunge of current events and do it good.

Oh, and there’s THIS:

Australia’s Parliament has voted to approve same-sex marriage following a protracted and often bitter debate that was finally settled in a nationwide referendum last month that overwhelmingly backed the move.

In a country where there had been 22 unsuccessful attempts in Parliament to legalize same-sex marriage since 2004, this should be seen as the triumph of a democracy learning to live up to its values.

Well done, Australia:

Fomer Prime Minister Tony Abbott, a staunch critic of same-sex marriage, said: “When it comes to same-sex marriage, some countries have introduced it via the courts, some via Parliament, and others — Ireland and now Australia — by vote of the people,” Mr. Abbott said. “And that is the best way because it resolves this matter beyond doubt or quibble.”

Remember: Beyond doubt or quibble, the majority of the people of the United States voted for Hillary for President. Every day since November 11, 2016, I have wished that I lived in a country where that mattered.

See you here next Friday. XX OO.

 

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