Warren’s Durham Day

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After nineteen years of living in Durham my very old friend Warren finally came to visit us.  We had been imposing on Warren for years on our family trips to Maine every summer to stay in his Howard Johnson inspired rooms in Rockport.   See Warren collects all things Howard Johnson and happens to live on the beautiful clam cove in the mid-coast very near where we go to family camp.


Thanks to a man in Raleigh who was selling a large set of Howard Johnson ice cream fountain mirrors on e-bay Warren finally broke down and drove south to pick up his winning item.  I convinced him that he needed to spend one day in Durham to help break up the two days of driving down and two days back.  So one day in Durham is what he got.


When we first planned the visit I did not know that he would be here for drive-through-day for the Heart of Carolina Food Drive.  When he arrived I gave Warren the choice of sleeping in or getting up early and coming to the Kroger store to help collect food from people and watch me be interviewed on TV.


Warren said he could sleep anytime, but he could not get many opportunities to try and distract me while being interviewed on live TV very often.  I am happy to say that he did not run behind me or make rabbit ears or do anything that would make me look bad on TV.   I think the highlight of the morning for Warren was the tour of the TV van, which looks more like a spaceship.


We followed that excitement with a tour of the neighborhood and a good walk for Shay, and then we headed downtown.  I took Warren to Russ’ office at American Tobacco overlooking the Durham Bulls ball park to show him how great an old factory town can look when it get’s repurposed.


We then headed to Watts Grocery so he could experience real southern food done the modern way that only the brilliant Amy Tournquist can make it.  Warren, the consummate Yankee was a chicken and waffles virgin so he was deflowered right there in Watts.  There’s no putting that toothpaste back in the tube now that he has had a taste of that true southern specialty.


Following lunch we ran over to Chapel Hill and stopped at the needlepoint store to pick up some finished items and Warren got to meet some stitching buddies.  He had to meet Nancy the owner since she has a great love of Howard Johnson for very personal reasons and she had heard all about Warren’s house when I stitched him a Ho Jo’s ornament as a thank you for our many visits.


We rounded the day out by setting up the house for a party, packing up the very large and fragile Ho Jo’s mirrors for the drive home, taking Carter by the mall and eating soup for dinner by the Christmas tree.


One fast day in Durham and it was great to have my friend who has known me for 37 years come and visit.  In between all this activity we laughed and reminisced talking about all the friends and some others we have known through the years.  I hope that someone else in North Carolina sells Warren an unmailable Ho Jo’s item so he can come back for another visit soon.  Our family will certainly be imposing on him in Maine soon enough and I need to do some paybacks.




Maine Summer Diet

My hands are smelly from picking lobster, shucking corn and downing Maine strawberries. Carter and I arrived at our friend Warren’s house on Clam Cove in Rockport on the hottest day in Maine history. Russ has missed the heat because he is coming in at 3 in the morning. We still saved him a lobster for lunch tomorrow.

I’m writing this at the kitchen table while Warren washes the dishes and Carter is making him a friendship bracelet in Howard Johnson’s colors to match his HoJo room. Having Carter and Warren tell stories about me and what a bad girl I was when I was Carter’s age is probably a bad idea. I don’t know if it is a good for me to let them spend too much time together, but they do have so much fun together. They are already plotting about throwing me off the schooner we are going on the morning.

I love coming to visit Warren and eat at the soda fountain counter of his own personal HoJo’s while listening to Bread coming from the juke box. When you are thirsty you just reach into the Coke cooler and grab yourself a drink. I am thankful that the whole ice cream counter is not stocked with hot fudge and the 28 flavors. Warren and Carter did have strawberry shortcakes. I had the strawberries and a squirt of whipped cream as celebration.

Everything about Maine screams summer to me and with this heat it is feeling like it too. But the weather is going to break and I will certainly be wearing my sweatshirt any day now. Oh to be in Maine, laughing, telling stories and making new memories.