I packed quickly and headed to Jacksonville to visit Irene at her mother's. The stretch of road in the Kenansville area, on the road from the exit of I-40 to Highway 24 was just phenomenally beautiful. The sun hit there such that on the left side of the road the evergreens were perfectly dry and green. On the right side, they were all glistening silver with ice. They looked like artificial Christmas trees, without the color wheel. Just beautiful the way the sun was reflecting off them, and in contrast to the perfectly dry ones on the other side. I couldn't stop looking back and forth, and wished I'd had my camera with me.
I arrived at about 2:30. In addition to Maria and Irene, these people were there: Susan, Ann, Benjamin, Maggie, James, Andrew, and Nicole. We were 10; I was thinking we were 13.
Irene and I went for a long walk, and she filled me in on how things went with James.
We all ate dinner at the Riverside restaurant in Swansboro. We had a reservation for 10 at 6:30, and arrived at about 6:40. The place was a little pricey. Irene ordered two bottles of $32 wine, and Susan ordered two crabmeat appetizers at $10.95 a piece. I had two bourbon and cokes as did Andrew. Five of the adults ordered the "Carpetbagger" special, which consisted of two pieces of filet mignon with two jumbo shrimp between them. It looked like a shrimp sandwich with the two pieces of meat as the buns. We had a choice of potatoes (russet red, mashed, or fries), and I took the mashed, which were out of this world. It came with a salad, too. I know the bill was hundreds of dollar, but Maria and Susan grabbed it to split. Five of us threw in ten dollar bills toward the tip.
Back at the house we played Catch Phrase, which was an absolute riot. The teams were me, Maria, and Ann against Nicole, Irene, and Susan. Those Harrison sisters got a little vicious at times... very competitive family. It was tons of fun though.
I had called mom and dad at about 8:30 to let them know I was in town, and would be spending the night, not coming over until around midnight. I left the Maria's at 11:38, and was feeling wide awake, so called them to tell them I was going to drive back to Raleigh. They didn't pick up before it went to their answering machine, but mom picked up while I was leaving my message.
I got back to Raleigh at 1:30.