It's been a long time since Jerry and I have been on an "alone" trip. We use to do little trips ALL the time, but as he has progressed I've been a little reluctant to do so. I'm afraid I'll get all these unrealistic expectations and get melancholy or frustrated, then I'll get sad.
But, yesterday, I got this whim to get away...just Jerry and I. So, I mentally prepared myself for "no expectations", very little conversation and a lot of S-L-O-W-N-E-S-S. (is that a word?). I asked Jerry to walk the dog, gathered some things, and then we hopped in the car. (Well, I hopped in after putting Jerry in his side of the car.) In his way, he was all excited, "Just the two of us?". All we needed was a convertable.
As we headed south along the coast towards a little town called Southport, NC, I saw the sign to the Southport ferry. How cool would that be, to ride the ferry across the Cape Fear river! It was so peaceful, with just a tad of excitement in that we got to drive our car onto the ferry. Jerry loved it.
Going to Southport is like going back in time to the Civil War. The streets are lined old historic waterfront houses from the 1800's with American flags waving from their front porches. Very few people were there, so we had the whole town to ourselves. Immediately I started snapping pictures of church steeples and porches for future paintings. We visited a couple of galleries, and I might even have the opportunity to be an exhibitor. Yippi! I never would have even approached them, if Jerry hadn't nudged me along. (He's my biggest supporter, ya know.)
Once 4:00 rolled around, I was trying to decide whether to head on back home, or whether we should stay for the night. Jerry had to go "potty", and just about then, we passed by a little coffee shop. Figuring we could do the potty and coffee thing we went inside. Anyway, while we were there we met a cool couple who encouraged us stay at Lois Janes Riverview Inn and eat dinner at Mr. P's Restaurant. Course, it's always a little uncomfortable taking Jerry anywhere because I feel I have to explain why he can't talk or socialize. I don't want people to think he's a big dork, so I feel I need to tell them he's ill. So when he wasn't looking, I mentioned that my husband has Alzheimers. I guess it's a hangup of mine, but really, I think people are more understanding if they know he's ill.
At Lois Jane's, I explained about Jerry, when we checked in and the manager, Jeremy, was more than hospitable. Extra, extra friendly! Jerry was exhausted and was resting on the bed so Jeremy fixed us a plate of assorted cheeses and olives, poured two glasses of white wine, and carried it to our room which overlooked the river. Talk about the "life", we were so spoiled.
Mr. P's fine dining was going to be a little tricky with a guy who couldn't remember to use a fork. But, I decided to give it a try. Just as we entered, there was that couple, from the coffee shop, who waved at us and came over to the table for a brief visit. How great was that! They just chatted as if we were "normal". What a relief! Our waitress, caught on pretty quickly that Jerry couldn't order, so she respectfully gave us her special schpeal in tiptop manner and gracioulsy served us a crab stuffed shrimp in a bowl with grits with a Caesar salad. So far, so good.
Here was the test. How long would I last in this silence? Each white clothed table was attended by an intimate looking couple enjoying their dining experience over a bottle of wine and idol chatter. I must admit that I found my mind wandering to this one couple within earshot of us. There she was, early 60's, very trim and attractive, dressed in her tan linen outfit and big artsy necklace. There he was, in a sharply starched button down shirt and deck shoes. (yes, he had pants on but I didn't notice them.) They were ENGAGED in a conversation and clearly were "gaga" in their "second time around". Smitten with each other, they were talking about staying healthy, pap smears, colonoscopies, and keeping their weight down. GAG ME! Is that what 60 somethings do? All the while, they were looking into each other's eyes and holding hands across the table. GAG ME, TWICE! I heard him tell her she was beautiful. OH! GET ME OUTTA HERE!
I'm laughing as I write this. Not me, I thought. I'm never doing this again! No second time for me! This is too much work! Besides no one could ever replace this "man of mine". Fork or no fork, we're doing just fine, thank you. I like the comfort that Jerry and I have. No pretenses, no performances, no fruity words. AND, even though I need a break from time to time, just togetherness. I good with that.
The next morning, I went down to meet up with Jeremy and tell him that we would not be attending breakfast. He was cooking a huge southern style breakfast which all the guest would be together at the dining table. I sort of said Jerry might be uncomfortable eating with strangers, plus they might be uncomfortable too. But, he insisted that we stay and have breakfast. He served us early and laid out before us the best grits I've ever had, along with eggs, bacon, sausage, fruit and toast. Those grits! A conduit for all that is bad for you. Butter, cream.....all that is bad...and "Oh, SO GOOD!" And once I put the fork in Jerry's hand, he consumed every one of those little gritlings.
Well, that's it for Southport. I'd say it's a "do over". That's what Jerry would call it. "A DO OVER". That means good.