On the news I watched an interview with a campus leader, who was telling college students that registering to vote is important, that the result of voting affects how we live. I wondered why college students need this lesson in basic civics.
Summer blooming plants have by and large stopped blooming. There are only a few blossoms left on the crepe myrtles and phystogesia. There is one late bloom on the lavender bed. The leaves on the winter honeysuckle have begun to turn yellow. Song, the newly planted gingko tree, is just beginning to tinge with gold. Plants along the roadside and in ditches are blooming yellow, a signature color of fall.
I said good-bye to my hostess at 10:20. The waxing moon was bright, and there was a strong cool breeze, almost a wind, coming from the northeast. She said, “I believe fall is coming.” The next morning was cool, lacking the feel of an upcoming day of heavy heat. This coming Sunday we welcome Fall.
A friend from college days and I drove north from Rocky Mount to the Virginia state line on US Hwy 301. We commented on the scenery the two-lane highway allowed us to see: farm land with cotton and soybeans and tobacco; woods of pine tress and of hardwood trees; outskirts of or drives down streets of small towns–all things that a drive on the interstate highway would not permit. We decided, unless we were in a hurry, that this was the way to travel.
We stopped in Halifax at the historic district and enjoyed a film and museum at the Visitor Center and a docent-guided tour of a restored early nineteenth century home, the other homes and buildings of the eighteenth century town, the museum in the tavern, where toasts were once made to Lafayette, who helped liberate us from the British during the American Revolution. (What have the French ever done for us? Read history, folks.) Kyle, the docent, was knowledgeable and enthusiastic and brought the historic town to life. His knowledge of architecture and history is commendable. We drove down a roughly graveled road to the Roanoke River and read a marker about the river as underground railroad during the Civil War period.
We enjoyed the town of Weldon, with its large public buildings and homes, evident of much wealth in past times. How is it that the Methodist Church there is larger than the Baptist Church? As in other historic town in the northeastern part of our state, Episcopal Churches are beautiful and quietly and lovingly kept. We paused to read a historic marker noting the site of a non-denominational church, which became a Civil War hospital for soldiers moved there by the railroad from battles in Virginia and places north.
We turned around at a railroad crossing in Virginia and decided to have lunch at Garysburg, NC. We saw ahead a restaurant with a sign above the door: LA KITCHEN DE’LITE. In honor of Lafayette and my French teaching days, we decided to eat there. We ordered the special of the day, baked chicken with rice and two sides, $6. The chicken was fall-off-the-bone tender, delicious. We were the only diners; several telephoned and came in to take out orders. The owners and cooks, James and Louiza, were friendly and accommodating.
On the way back to Rocky Mount, we drove through a town that seemed tired, dispirited. It had the aura of always having been this way. Perhaps it was we, not the town, tired from a good drive and walking in Halifax.
Thank you for reading. Enjoy these last few days of summer and the arrival of autumn.