9/24/2006

Three Hotels



Jim and I will sleep in our own bed tonight. Its good to be home.

This week we have crawled into beds in three hotels in two states with a lot of road in between.

We are not going to the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough in October so last week-end we went to Williamsburg, Va for the 2nd annual Williamsburg Storytelling Festival.
I am not saying it is a substitue for Jonesborough but it was an excellent stand-in - - wonderful setting, terrific storytellers telling really good stories.

Our family came too and stories are even more fun when you are enjoying them with your home group. Cousins Jim and Pam, Karen, and Jim in the background. Jim and Monica arrived later.

We dipped into our Sunterra time share points for two apartments at Powhatan Plantation.
What a mistake. The first units they assigned to us were filthy. We complained and with some trouble we were moved. We wound up sleeping on a mattress that was a rock! We had a kitchen so every morning I ate my regular bowl of shredded wheat. Familiar is good..

Mid-day on Sunday Jim and I wrenched ourselves away from the sunny world of stories and hit the highway toward North Carolina to spend a couple of days with Mama at her rehab hospital. We checked into the Fairfield Marriott Hotel in Kannapolis, NC. Friendly folks, clean room and a deliciously comfortable bed – at least to two people who had been sleeping on a rock for three nights. There was a small breakfast room off the compact, plain lobby filled with small tables and chairs. Every morning they set out various breads for toast, stuff to make your own waffle, a rack of small boxes of cereals, coffee, juices, yogurt and fresh fruit. I could have my regular cereal every morning. Ah, good.
Oh, I forgot the place also has free internet. A definite plus.

Mama is doing so well. Getting over a broken hip is no small thing. She can walk four times across the room with assistance. She is determined to get back on her feet. Her right hand is weakened for some reason. Every day she goes to the therapy room and works with putting round pegs into round holes and removing them. One of the women who works near-by calls it "picking cotton."

Jim and I went to Target and bought a Fisher Price toy – where the child drops colored shaped blocks through matching holes in the blue top of a yellow plastic bucket. Its her homework. She was delighted.

I am emensely proud of her. There is nothing easy about any minute of her day.

We arrived home on Wednesday and slept well in our own bed.

Thursday morning I ate shredded wheat at my own kitchen table. The phone rang as I was leaving to tell stories at a near-by pre-school. It was my childhood friend Betsy. She called to tell me that our friend Carolyn had died in her sleep during the night in Salem, VA.

(left) Carolyn.
"I will call you right back." I told her.
I did - - after I told a set of stories to 4 year olds. Tales about talking animals are a good way to keep a painful reality at bay.

Around noon on Friday Jim and I headed down Highway 66 to Highway 81 to Salem, VA, just outside Roanoke. We went to say good-bye to Carolyn.

We checked into the Comfort Suites off Electric Blvd in Salem. Big room, comfortable bed, and Wi-fi. Tomorrow morning we would have breakfast at one of the small tables set up at one end of the light-filled spacious lobby.



I met Carolyn and Betsy in a Girl Scout Troop at Hawthorne Lane Methodist Church. We were 10 years old. We became closer friends as we pulled ourselves through Junior High School. Our Sophmore year at Central High School we pulled in two others and started calling ourselves the Big Five – Jane, Betsy, Thorny, Carolyn and me. We did most things together. We were known for being the best of friends. The bond was – is – strong. The winds of our lives blew us in different directions. Our parents stayed in Charlotte but all of us moved away. Every so often we had big five reunions. A week-end away, a sleep-over and other get togethers.

Friday evening at the funeral home in Salem, VA Betsy, Jane and Thorny and I sat on a couch – feeling incomplete.

Jane smiled wistfully and whispered the child’s verse-song:
Five little monkeys jumping on the bed.
One fell off and then he was dead.
Now, four little monkeys jumping on the bed.


The bed at the Comfort Suites was warm and comfortable.

In the lobby the next morning they did not have shredded wheat; I ate Cheerios.

Nothing is the same.

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