North of the Border

Headed to North of the Border… beyond South of the Border and onward to North Carolina to visit my niece Melanie who is officially a member of the United States of America military family, and now stationed in Fort Liberty in North Carolina (formerly known as Fort Bragg).

I was joining my brother Edwin and mom along with her little companion Heidi, she’s been by moms side for over 15 years.

bye bye Florida

hello Georgia

Driving out of Florida is an event in itself… it is such a long state to drive through, glad we were not coming from Key West!

We made our first stop at the Georgia Welcome Center where we were greeted with the first signs of the Winter season with lovely Winterberry trees.

Even though I was shivering Heidi enjoyed a nice stretch and a good run.

Georgia Welcome Center was festively decorated for Christmas.

Soon we were on the road crossing the Savannah River, one of the natural landmarks that defines the border between Georgia and South Carolina.

Entering the gates of South Carolina the American Flag was lightly billowing at half staff in honor of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor who had passed away, she was the first woman on our Nation’s highest court.

We were filled with a sense of solemnity which filled the cabin in our car …how we got to South of the Border seemed like a blur. Through the whole of the trip the sky and the travel had been wonderful.

South of the Border is not the cleanest place to stop and I would recommend against it.  DIRTY is all I can say.

Fortunately North Carolina was only about 9 minutes drive North of South of the Border and soon it was behind us… and night was upon us.

Arriving at Fort Liberty we were so eager to see our precious Melanie.  The next day we drove into Raleigh, North Carolina enjoying the sign of the season… the sun was beginning to warm things up a bit but the air was still a nippy 33 degrees and I was glad to be in the shelter of Taverna Agora enjoying fine Greek cuisine.

One proud dad and Grandma.

So much has happened in such a short period of time… just earlier this year this little girl completed not only bootcamp but also airborne training and now is settling into military life.  I keep praying that God keep her safe and all our military here and abroad.

Visiting her at her place was such a treat and she was the perfect hostess… so grown up, I wanted to cry.

She took care of her grandma and had all the perfect treats for her dad. Despite her two feline companions she was so kind to Heidi.

From what I saw, Melanie finds comfort in her feline friends and they bring a sense of peace and that there is “something still good with the world”.  Both Konoco and Jolene are females and the have the sweetest disposition, if I hadn’t six cats of my own she’d be missing two. 😹

⬆⬆ Jolene

⬅⬅ Konoco

I am so very happy and proud of Melanie, it just seems that life is so uncertain and somehow God has given her fortitude to spearhead towards her future… and slowly but surely things do come together and before we know it… a life has been lived.

If you love coffee there is no better place than Just Love Coffee Cafe in Fayettville, North Carolina.

Even though we were there for such a short time, Melanie had managed to show us local gastronomy that reflected her sense of good taste in food, which I totally was down for.

I would like to mention that this was the week before Christmas and we carried the Spirit of Christmas in our hearts; it would be very remiss of me not to mention something odd I felt.  It was that despite all the decorations we saw in different locations, there was a sense that Christmas was missing out in the world. 

It felt as if the Joy of Christmas had been stolen from the soul of humanity and the ‘will’ of man had been broken leaving behind the ‘idea’ of Christmas. 

And it is these moments that we must dig deep into our core values and remember that the greatest gift we can give each other is Love. 

Though our stay was short and the journey long, love can never be measured in quantity and can only be captured in the quality of how we demonstrate and share Love for each other… and the memory of such moments together fill our cup over and over again.

Tell you what I won’t miss… the cold; in that sense it was heart-warming to see the familiar: Florida Welcomes You as the sun began to set and our journey home was almost complete.  

It sure feels good to be SOUTH… from South of the Border.

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