Sweet Baby Jesus

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Greetings from Durham, North Carolina, where my beloved son and I just toured around Duke University – – just for the hell of it. He isn’t going to be going there, but it’s a lovely school, and since we were in the neighborhood, we absolutely wanted to stroll around. I am coming to you from a Venezuelan restaurant, as I felt terribly guilty about the recent paucity of my posts.

I enjoyed an absolutely fascinating drive through rural North Carolina, making our way from Charlotte to our airport destination of Raleigh. Driving along the freeway is quite sterile – – just countless millions of trees. No homes. No businesses. Just wilderness.

Due to a chunk of clogged freeway, I got off and took about 7 miles of detour where people actually live. What a fascinating side trip that way. And hundreds of light years to what I normally see (although very akin to what I saw as a boy in rural Louisiana, where I grew up).

For one thing, there are definitely rich people and poor people here. Rich people have $200,000 houses. These are grand affairs, with huge spreads of land, elegant facades, and many thousands of square feet of living space. Poor people live in trailers. And these are not sequestered. They practically alternate – rich, poor, rich, poor – blissfully unaware of the juxtaposition.

What a pleasure it is to see the spread between rich and poor being $200,000 instead of $20,000,000 where I live. It’s more civilized.

Strange, too, are the abundance of churches. There seems to be a church – – and a very big church, no less – – for about every 50 homes. Raised as a good suburban Methodist myself, it felt like home to me.

Most striking of all, though, were the road signs. Some people had small signs in their front yards – – “Thank You, Jesus.” Some businesses had purchased gigantic billboards showing the three wise men following the star to Bethlehem, complete with a Biblical quote. Other billboards simply stated in huge letters: “There IS Proof of God.” and featured a photograph of a human infant. I dunno, I’m a true believer myself, but the last thing I’d take as empirical evidence would be someone’s brat.

In any case, I’ve got to get on a plane and crank out some posts for you good people. I appreciate your patience with me during my travels, and I leave you with this piece of good news.