Friday, July 18, 2014

The Reunion: Old Friend, Wondrous Dinner

TheArtisanal rests in an isolated area near Banner Elk.
Regenia on the Veranda.
Regenia (Street) Clark and I settled down to dinner tonight at a lovely lodge near Banner Elk called the Artisanal, which was founded a few years ago by a pretty women of Indian ancestry.

It is a beautiful, five-star eatery where dining is an extraordinary pleasure--soup to nuts. On this night, dinner was secondary, though, because Regenia and I had to much catching up to do. And we did. We drove around the town and talked for a long time, then had dinner and drove some more on this cool, rainy, foggy evening in the North Carolina highlands.

There are so very many people between us that is difficult to find them all and were left searching for this one and that and telling revealing stories of them all. We were at Grandfather Home together 50 years ago, Regeina spending eight years there, me only my senior year in high school.

Most of the kids at the home were either abandoned or abused. I was neither, choosing to stay there to get away from the poverty and distraction of home. Regenia and her brother and sister lived there and she and I barely knew each other, though she was a cheerleader and I was on the football team. Regenia was, in fact, involved in nearly everything, one of the most popular kids in school. You can still see ample evidence of why that was true in her smile and her very real interest in others. Great conversationalist and I simply adore listening to that pure Avery County lilt. There is something entirely elegant about its Elizabethan nature.

She made enough of an impression on me in our year at Cranberry High that she is in CLOG! as a part of a couple of characters. She's actually pretty easy to spot.

Tomorrow morning we meet at the old high school, which has become something of a shrine. It closed in the early 1970s, was a lumber storage facility for years and was finally saved by, among other people, our old middle linebacker Gaylard Andrews, a guy who still lumbers when he walks. Always did. Guess there's something poetic in that.

Dining room at Artisanal.

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