#1,015 The Big Trip Day 2.

So many beautiful sights and sounds today, so I’ll keep the writing to a minimum. We spent the morning touring Duke University.

Ben told me about his memory of these worn down stairs early on in our relationship. 

His daddy’s school in the daylight.


And most important of all, Cameron Indoor Stadium. The holy grail of division 1 college basketball:

We didn’t leave without some goodies:

We left Duke bound for Reidsville, where we had a lunch date with Ben’s best friend from high school, Javen. He’s talked about him so much since I’ve known him, though I’d never seen his face or spoken to him because he doesn’t use Facebook. Isn’t it amazing how dependent we are on it to maintain old friendships? I was surprised to find that Javen was a very big man, like Ben and his brothers. It seems like I surround myself with giants, doesn’t it?

After lunch, we followed Javen to their old high school because 10 years have erased the route from Ben’s memory.
And so I got to see where Ben was a teenager, where he went 5 days a week while I was trudging the halls of Northeast Jones 14 hours south.

We said our goodbyes to Javen, a year older so he wouldn’t be at the reunion. I was so excited to see his old house and neighborhood before we had to go to the hotel and get ready.

And then he said, “there it is.” And for the first time ever I got to see his old house, a split level in a neighborhood where kids ride bikes endlessly on the connecting streets.

The owners walked outside when we pulled into the driveway. They were happy to show us around the yard and the old tobacco barn that was once Ben’s daddy’s office and the boys’ hangout for late night get togethers. It’s sad that they’ve let it fall into disrepair, a junked up storage building now, rather than a property asset.

On the way back into town to the hotel, he showed me the tobacco farm that he worked on through high school. He worked in the barns, where he and his brother, Tom, baled the dried tobacco for market.

He showed me their church, Mizpah United Methodist, where his daddy was the minister:

And then we went to our hotel, showered and got dressed for his 10 year reunion.

 I recognized a lot of faces from his high school photos. Particularly, BJ, the singer of American Aquarium that I met in Ocean Springs last year.

We realized that because of facebook, the excitement of seeing friends from 10 years ago is dulled by the fact that everyone knows not only what you’ve been up to, but who you’re married to and what they do for a living, what you ate for dinner last Thursday. That sort of made us hate technology. After a couple hours of hugs and handshakes, we went back through downtown Reidsville to get to bed for a few hours before pulling out at 6 am for Massachusetts.

And now, for as well as I’ve felt I knew Ben, I know another part of him that was a mystery to me. I can imagine his not-so-awkward high school years more clearly now. I can feel like even though I wasn’t his then, I can be a part of his North Carolina history in this way. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.