So I’m picking up now where I left off last. You’ll recall that we had just gotten to the AirB&B and were having dinner with Vincent.
We ate and talked. Martha and I shared with him pictures of the grandkids. He told us about his adventures moving to Durham, and he shared with us tales of the friends he’d made in the city. It isn’t quite right to say that he is a complete extrovert, but he has no shyness to speak of, and he loves people of all sorts. He is the personification of Will Roger’s famous line, “I never met a man I didn’t like.” (Though, I suspect, like Will himself, Vincent could learn to detest someone after close enough observation. He is no fan of bigots or bullies.)
We talked about what we would do during our visit. He had several suggestions. In particular, he wanted us to visit a restored plantation, specifically Historic Stagville (https://historicsites.nc.gov/all-sites/historic-stagville). He was very keen on Stagville because, he said, it had been reconstructed to focus on the lives of the “enslaved people” who worked the place, rather than the owners. This is a trend in history and historical reconstruction, by the way. It’s for both moral reasons (we do need to focus on the individuals who knew oppression and want), and also because it, well, makes sense. There are only a few people at the top of any society, but lots and lots at the bottom. If we are going to study history...and if we mean by “history” the story of the most people involved...then we need to look at the lives of the majority.
The way I heard it put by a professor once was, “For any pyramid, there is only one Pharaoh, but there were thousands upon thousands of people who built it.”
This actually is from our Durham trip, but it is from a few days later. It is of Martha at the Bennett homestead, which has a lovely lawn/garden area nearby.
In the end, though, we didn’t see Stagville. Mostly because we just ran out of time. Maybe on our next visit. Instead, we settled on another historic site (Bennett Place, more about which later), lunch and music at a local venue on Saturday, and then a visit to an art museum on Sunday.
The plan had originally been that we would have a dinner and gathering on Sunday where we’d eat “that lamb” and “those potatoes,” and meet all his new friends from the neighborhood. But, there had been, once again, complications. Specifically, we learned that Vincent was recovering from minor surgery.
It *was* minor, but it was still surgery, and he was still having moments of pain and tiredness. I was reminded of Martha, and, I must confess, I was worried about him (and her) a little. Again, I wondered if we shouldn’t have waited. But, once more, too late for that.
And we *had* been eager to see him, and he *had* been eager to see us, so maybe it was all for the best.
Still, I was a bit peeved with Mother Nature. This getting older sh*t is for the birds.
We finished up around nine and he headed off to his house. We agreed to meet him there for breakfast in the morning.
And then, off to bed...
Where all the bumps and bruising and cramping and bumpy air of the day’s trip would fade...we hoped...into peaceful oblivion.
And, mostly, they did.
Wonderful what exhaustion can do. Just lovely.
More to come.
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