We took off on our second day (June 9) towards Old Salem.  Wikipedia has this to say about it:

“Old Salem is a historic district of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It features a living history museum (operated by the non-profit Old Salem Museums & Gardens,organized as Old Salem Inc.) that interprets the restored Moravian community. The non-profit organization began its work in 1950, although some private residents had restored buildings earlier. As the Old Salem Historic District, it was declared a National Historic Landmark (NHL) in 1966. The district showcases the culture of the Moravian settlement in North Carolina during the 18th and 19th centuries, re-creating shops, churches and houses.

Two buildings were individually designated as NHL, the Salem Tavern and the Single Brothers’ House. Additional buildings and properties have been added to the National Register that expand the historic area (see St. Philips Moravian Church below, Single Brothers Industrial Complex Site, and West Salem Historic District). Ownership of the buildings and land is currently divided among Old Salem, Inc., Wachovia Historical Society, private owners, Salem Academy and College, Home Moravian Church, and the Moravian Church Southern Province.”

I always like such things.  The gunsmith was my favorite.  The gunsmith himself did a lot of talking and clearly enjoyed his work of explaining things to tourists.  There was another guy (the apprentice?) who was actually building something at the bench behind him. 

It was pretty hot that day so we walked slowly and ducked into each and every building just to cool off. Most buildings had some sort of interpreters inside explaining what went on there but my favorites are always people who are doing things and so the tinsmith and the woodworker caught my attention the most.  The woodworker was outside at the time working on something which I forget the purpose of but which was a gigantic wooden screw.  Cutting screw threads on a large log of wood is an impressive feat no matter the purpose.  The tinsmith was in the process of cleaning up his shop and so was not doing anything interesting at the time but he said he taught classes at times which made Tom perk up considerably.  He may go back and attend a smithing class at some point.

From there, we hit the road bound for Mount Airy.  This is a little town up near the Virginia border that is the birthplace of Andy Griffith and so can claim that it is the inspiration for the town of Mayberry in the 1960s TV show.  The main street has certainly built itself up by that reputation and several of the businesses from the TV show are recreated on Main Street.  Floyd’s Barbershop is one that comes to mind.  It is in fact a genuine barbershop where you can still get a haircut.

There is an Andy Griffith museum nearby and attached to that is the Old Time Music Heritage Center.  This is basically a large room with a small stage where you can go to listen to music or to play it yourself.  That night there happened to be a regularly scheduled jam session where about 15 folks showed up to play.  All are welcome and so Tom grabbed his guitar (which is never travels without) and moved up to the stage.  It wasn’t long before he got to the mic and sang one of his favorite tunes. 

In this way he and I are very different.  He can play to an audience; I cannot.  This is what most people would call Bluegrass music but they call it Folk Music and limit themselves to the old tunes that have been played in the Appalachian region for 200 years.  As time went on, some people left the building and walked next door to the museum (where there is a large porch to stand under) and started up playing modern Bluegrass which is faster and a bit more complex.  Tom stuck to the old time music.

We stayed at an old-school motor hotel called The Mayberry Inn.  This was one of those motels you don’t see as much any more and which I’ve never actually stayed in that is a long single-story line of rooms where you park in front.  The Building was arranged in an open V shape with the office in the center and a nice gazebo out front.  They also had a reproduction of the Mayberry sheriff’s car and an old pickup.  We had dinner at a place called “Goober’s” but that was apparently unrelated to the character name from the TV show.  It was just a burger joint.

After dinner and the music, we came back to the motel.  Tom grabbed his guitar again and headed for the gazebo to play music by himself although there were two older retired couples there already chatting so Tom entertained them.  It was about this time that Erin called to inform us that she had broken up with her boyfriend and that he had not taken it well.  Apparently he was bent on changing her mind but his efforts came across as stalking so we had many phone conversations and ended up having her spend the night first with Melissa’s sister and after that, with friends of hers.  I specifically called her to tell her to NOT cause such a ruckus while I’m 1000 miles away and unable to do my parental duties. In this way, I missed much of Tom’s gazebo concert but when I went out there later, he had in his typical way, made friends with everybody and knew all about them.

For this reason, we know to never send Tom out to ask for directions or to have him do anything when we’re in a hurry.  He will typically get to know everybody’s life story before ever coming to the point so we know to send some other emissary.  As brother’s we are naturally very similar but in this way, we could not be more different.  He has all the social skills while I have relatively few. 

This was all good fun and apart from the Erin breakup, could not have gone better.

June 8: Off we went!  Mel and I drove up to the airport and parked our car.  Normally we don’t do this since it costs money but this time we decided to go with convenience.  So did hundreds of others – which is normal.  The Tulsa airport has awesome parking; it’s pretty reasonably priced and usually a shuttle bus will follow you and pick you up at your car to take you to the terminal.

We flew on to Raleigh-Durham airport (RDU) without incident.  Tom and Darla were waiting for us at the baggage claim.  This is the first time I’ve seen them in several years and it’s probably the only time in many years that we’ve had the time to sit and chat and truly catch up on life.  They drove us back to their house in Clayton and we just sat around and talked till bedtime.

We did get up and go get barbecue at Smithfield’s near their house.  We met Melanie and her family there and again got caught up on lots of things.  We visited just in the nick of time; Melanie and her family are moving back to Arkansas in the very near future so it’s lucky we got a chance to see them.  Tom and Darla are moving back too but at some later time whenever it’s convenient.

So our first day went smoothly.  It was a good indicator of how the rest of the week would go.