A Professor in Appalachia, Part 1

Midafternoon Sunday, we left for Durham.  The car was a Toyota Corolla with a cruise control system that automatically slowed down when following a car.  That resulted in my driving slower than I otherwise would, forgetting to change lanes and pass.  The worst part was that it followed rather distantly behind the car ahead, making people behind me want to pass me and fill in the gap.

We stopped at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, which had closed but whose grounds were still open for walking around.  There was quite a bit of sculpture outdoors, including a little Rodin garden, with the sculptures having been donated by none other than Iris and Gerald Cantor, for whom the Stanford art museum is named; it also has a large Rodin collection.  A class of art students were visiting.  One was crying.

We drove on to Durham, found our Days Inn, and went off to dinner at Viceroy, a restaurant downtown celebrating the relationship between Britain and India:  India had been colonized by Britain, and British pub culture had been colonized by Indian food.  The owner told us the story of many of the pictures hung on the walls, and the decor just generally.

We hadn’t been able to see our friend in Durham that night, but we arranged to meet with him for breakfast Monday at Monut’s.  Adam is a “lecturing fellow” in anthropology at Duke, which doesn’t give him tenure or anything, or even much of a salary, but provides him with a place he can continue to do his research into child-raising in the Central Africa Republic.  It’s hard when your friends live in a war zone that’s colored red on the State Department Warning map.  Adam has been doing a bit of child-raising of his own as well.  We met them briefly.

As we were eating breakfast, who should walk into the restaurant but the bride and groom, whose flight had been delayed by eight hours, and for whom Monut’s was an old favorite spot.  Small world again!  After breakfast we drove over to Duke and checked out the gardens and the chapel.  It looked Ivy League.