5 Mar 2012

New Bern Update

Posted by Sam

February 28, 2012

Dear Friends:

We be way overdue for a note connecting you to the Swans of North Carolina. Our lives are not so full of adventure now, so I sometimes feel hesitant to share our often mundane days.

We have found a lot of things to like about New Bern. Founded in 1710, it is steeped in history. A lot of houses in our neighborhood were built in the 1800s; huge, three story homes with brick paved lanes to the back of the property, (and slave quarters). they were a sight at Christmas with a single candle light in every window. Named after Berne, Switzerland, the bear is everywhere. 50 fiberglass bears were painted by local artists as part of the 300 year celebration in 2010 and are found everywhere in town. Quite often they are painted to match the business they front, they offer a glossy contrast to so much red brick. Dave’s favorite is the one painted like a school bus in the the window of the downtown ABC store (thats Liquor store to the uninitiated).(Attached PDF is a sampling of some of the bears.) New Bern is also the birthplace of Pepsi; started out as Brad’s Drink, mixed by a local pharmacist named  Caleb Bradham.

We didn’t drop a ball at New Years, we dropped a croaker (fish) The daily Sun Journal has two crosswords AND a Jumble. Pickles is there but Dave misses Rose is Rose. Shag lessons are still taught at the Y; beauty pageants support numerous dance studios and sparkly dress stores. The current hunting season is open for raccoon, opossum, bobcat and squirrel (but not the fox squirrel).

This is a wonderful place to winter. Many days in the mid seventies, an occasional overnight freeze and a few thunderstorms, just generally light jacket weather. My tulips are up, the camellias are almost finished, the pansies (which are everywhere in pots downtown) flourished through the winter and folks will be putting out their vegetables in a few weeks. Root veggis are already in the ground.

The big river in the backyard, the Neuse (history says it somehow got morphed from the News River), is a daily fascination for us. Water level is almost entirely wind driven, sometimes it comes over the concrete buffer; other times it is so low we can see the pilings from sawmill log raft anchors that ran along here. Our house sits where a lumber yard was located.

We don’t see a lot of egrets or cranes but we have a large flotilla of coots that comes by daily. Also prevalent are the flying mullets, fish which leap so far out of the water they make a real show.

Looking forward, we are going to move to the Arlington, Texas area, we just don’t know when. No later than september. It probably won’t be our last move, but we really miss the kids, and there is nothing holding us here.

Dave’s hernia surgery went very well. Turned out he had two hernias, but he was a good patient and had no post op problems. He was back on his bike in three weeks. Davey bicycles everywhere, post office, grocery store, hardware store, Target; he knows New Bern intimately from his almost daily bike trips.

I have had a liver biopsy and hopefully am on the way to better health. I have non-alcoholic steato hepatitis, a non-viral liver condition that has five stages, from normal to cirrhosis. My blood work suggested stage three, but the biopsy staged it at level two. I’m really happy about that. Losing weight, staying off pain pills and alcohol will keep me in good stead the rest of my life. And hopefully I can get over the nausea and fatigue of hepatitis. My diabetes numbers are almost normal, and by the time I lose the weight I have no doubt I can stop the diabetes pills. The rotator cuff injury in my right shoulder is the main reason I was taking pain pills, which may have hurt my liver. It has gotten worse and if my last shot of cortisone doesn’t work, I’ll get an MRI, and probably surgery. The cortisone doesn’t fix anything, but lets me really work at the exercises, trying to strengthen shoulder muscles to ease the impingement I apparently have

So . . .  I have good days and bad days. Dave just has good days, He is extremely supportive and helpful to me. He makes the beds, keeps me in Diet Coke and cleans house while I’m at church. I’m very lucky.

We have sold the bus to a really nice guy from Florida. He will pick it up next weekend. So you can understand how we feel a big chapter of our lives has come to an end, and we’re ready for the next chapter.

We send love, and wish you warm,

Sam & Dave



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