August 18, 2011 Statesville, NC to Cullowhee, NC

John: We have only good things to say about Statesville, NC based on our brief stay here. This morning we find a public tennis center with 6 hard courts and 4 clay courts, all lighted, that are in pretty good shape. We play on one of the hard court starting at 7am. Only when the staff show up at 8am do we realize we have jumped the gun on starting hours. (Perhaps this is the result of a budget cutback. If you can’t pay staff to supervise until closing time, then you have to leave the courts open. But it’s refreshing to see a good public tennis facility these days– we’ve seen so many that have been in sad shape.)

City Hall, Statesville, NC

We get on the road at 10am, pretty late for us. We are going to see our dear friends Sophie and Al in the North Carolina mountains. We have known them since 1983, when we were all newbies moving in to Hopkinton, MA (where the Boston Marathon starts). Our route today is supposed to take us west on I-40 to Asheville NC, then a lot of twisty federal and state highways to get to there place in Cullowhee (what a great name for a town!). “Supposed” is the operative word in the preceding sentence.

We get to Asheville, do a little shopping, and then try to find lunch. We fail miserably due to every place we consider has a lack of parking or lack of being open. Grumpily we ask Missy our GPS to route us towards our destination, trusting that we will locate some fast food along the way. We had thought that our general direction would be west. But Missy sends us on a road that says it’s eastbound. Nevertheless, we trust her since we don’t really know the roads in this part of the country. After a few miles, we see signs for food, pull off the road, and have lunch.

Stock photo - of course our chicken sandwich was "hold the cheese and mayo" and only eat half the bun

After lunch, we crank up Missy again and get going. But wait! She is now taking us back the way we came! Uh-oh, time for the map. Sure enough, Missy had led us astray earlier. She appears to have changed her mind over lunch. Perhaps she was initially attempting to take us via a different route, which is plausible. But why she should change her mind in this way is puzzling, to say the least. (But then again, this is not the first time Missy has been, shall we say, playful. The first time was four summers ago with what we call the Montpelier Maneuver: after having visited James Madison’s home, Missy had us take a right turn by first turning left, then going 1/4 mile, and finishing with a U-turn.)

Having made up her mind, Missy guides us on the path of righteousness to Cullowhee NC, home of Western Carolina University. We arrive at Sophie and Al’s around 3pm after driving through some beautiful country.

Mary: I am so happy to see my dear friend, Sophie. It’s been two years since we’ve been together and, as you can see from the picture, we are all smiles.

Mary and Sophie

We are also glad to see their daughter, Melissa, who was Sarah’s best friend when we lived in Massachusetts. She has an adorable baby boy, Tyler, who is very sweet and smily.

We spend the evening drinking wine and talking over old times, new times, and plans for the future.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *