The outer banks of North Carolina are home to some of the last unspoiled beaches in the world. We live on the southern most outer bank, but I've never seen the islands just north of us. Yesterday seemed like a good day to go, it was my birthday. The night before I asked Jerry if he'd like to take a ferry ride to the outer banks. GOING anywhere, he always says, YES! So, I told him we'd have to go to bed early so we could wake up at the crack of dawn.
When 6am rolled around, I looked at Jerry and said, "you still wanna go?" He rolled over, mumbled some garble, and I said, "That's ok. Just sleep in." I got up and did usual doggie walking and email reading. At 7am, I looked over and saw Jerry standing there. He said, "GO". Within 5 minutes we were in the car, no make up, no shaving, just scrubs; beginning our hour and a half drive to the ferry. Mind you, I knew that Alzheimer world was coming with us, so I tried to stay calm.
The ride was beautiful and thank heavens it was only for the last 18 miles that Jerry asked, "Where are we going?". Course, it was every couple of miles that he asked....that's roughly 9 times in about 18 minutes. I counted. Once we got to the ferry, he said, "I've been here before." Now, what was that suppose to mean? I've been here before. Why are we here? I've been here before. It's a fun ride? I've been here before. It's boring. I just didn't try to interpret. There was room on the ferry so I was happy. Jerry, being his old self for a moment, greeted others, asking his old standard, "Where you from?" A man his age, answered, "We drove up from Florida." Five minutes later, Jerry asked again, "Where you from?" Oh brother. Here I go again...having to explain. I think I should get a card stating, "he has Alzheimers" and flash it to people when Jerry repeats himself. I moseyed Jerry on over to a bench on the top deck where we engaged in conversation with a delightful but chatty elderly woman who talked my ear off. Jerry wasn't paying attention at all. However, I enjoyed it because I knew I wouldn't have to give anymore explanations to more strangers.
Once off the ferry, I decided to drive to the very end of the island. The island was 16 miles long. I figured we'd get to the end and work our way back. So, we wove our way through the little town of Ocracoke which was only about a mile of little shops, restaurants, and houses. Then, it was nothing but unspoiled sand dunes, sea grass, and ocean. When we got to the end, there was a little house with restrooms and an outdoor shower. Yippi! I had brought our suits and I was so excited about swimming there. UNFORTUNATELY, Jerry wasn't so keen on the idea. You know, he doesn't like to take off his socks, much less get his feet wet. Besides, he was pretty anxious the whole way about not knowing where he was. Grrrrrr. I ALMOST LET THE FRUSTRATION GET THE BEST OF ME. I asked for grace. Then, remembered that Alzheimer world had come with us.
So, the clothes stayed on. I coaxed Jerry to the shoreline and he followed me while I picked up driftwood and shells. That was good enough. We were happy.
By now, it was well past lunchtime and Jerry was fading fast. So we headed on back to town and saw this really nice gallery. We stopped in, looked around, and asked the owner's recommendation on a place for lunch. Her suggestion was wonderful. I loved my shrimp and orzo salad and Jerry ate his spicy wrap. (Don't know whether he liked it or not.) Nonetheless, it was all eaten, at least most of it, and we had just enough time to walk around a bit before heading home. In the old days, I would have pitched a fit to stay longer, but I could see in Jerry's eyes that the trip was wearing him out. Remember, I asked for grace. There was no way I could be disappointed, he was doing his best. I could tell.
We made it back to the ferry line just in time to get on. We napped in the car, so that held us over for the drive back. Once our car reached cell phone service again, I got a message from a friend who had taken Montana dog for a walk. Jerry overheard it and said, "I really appreciate that." Go figure. He appreciated the dog walk but not the day out. We know what's important. What could I say? Nothing. It was a good day. It's was my birthday.