I knew I needed to do something soon or I would become more mired in fear. Not to the point of enslaving me but it was just that little bit of doubt that I could resume things that I have done normally for years and years. So a trip to Charlotte was in order, not to sight see or go visit one of our long time good friends, no it was to make a drive longer than an hour, by myself and explore an area I had never been to. The carrot on the sting? Nordstrom. I cannot tell you how many times I nearly talked myself out of making that trip and on Monday morning, even on I 40, I was having that conversation with myself and almost made the morning about getting breakfast around Black Mountain. There are several ways to get to Charlotte and I chose the one most likely we would take if we needed to fly out of Charlotte. I had considered driving back the scenic route but wild fires have caused road closings and it looked like the scenic road may still have some closures on it. I left home around 9:30 and made it to the mall a little before noon, which by the GPS, I was a little ahead of schedule. The drive is lovely and even the flatter country around Charlotte is beautiful.
Just like Houston, traffic surrounding the mall at lunchtime was horrendous. Made me a little homesick, not. Such a well planned area. This mall, South Park, is huge! It has a Nord, Neiman Marcus, Dillard's and Macy's. Parking garages surround the mall and there are a few open areas for parking and just like that, it seemed meant to be because I got a front row parking space smack dab in front of the Nord. It also was the closest to the street I needed for my return trip. The Charlotte Nord is a whole lot smaller than the one in the Galleria. Very nicely done and I had a wonderful time walking around looking at everything. I was happy that even with a Nordstrom Note burning in my pocket I didn't buy anything, except for lunch. This Nord has a marketplace not a bistro. You order at a counter, choose a table and then a server brings your order out to you. The menu had several of my favorites but I opted for the tried and true margarita pizza. They didn't have crab bisque or that would have been a choice as well. After lunch I wandered out into the mall just a bit, not too far because I had passed the Billy Graham Library on my way to the Nord and decided I would need to make a stop there before heading home.
The grounds at the Library are beautiful but because it was 88 degrees and the humidity high, I didn't make it to the area where Ruth Bell Graham and others are buried. I did walk a bit through the prayer gardens, didn't do any of the tours instead opting for when I was with others, but I did make a stop in the bookstore. You know you have to...when you are a reader. I made it out of there only buying postcards but several things were tempting for purchase. I took a few pictures and then I was back on the road heading home.
At the Nord I had been all primed to order dessert but they only offered cookies and cupcakes, not the normal desserts I am used to in Houston. So I stopped at a Cracker Barrel because Texas sheet cake, which they call Coca Cola Cake, sounded really good. This was a rather new Cracker Barrel and the newer ones have a better design and flow. My visit was uneventful except my server got fired in mid serving. The manager came over with my coffee and two different servers brought the cake and ice cream and coffee refills. After doing some CB shopping, got two bird pens that happened to be on sale, I stopped at the nearby Shell station. The conversation that Roy and I had about me traveling alone to Houston and back came to mind. He is concerned because I walk slower than I used to and would be an easy target. I told him with my strategy of stopping at CB and then stopping at a station meant I was only walking between the truck and the pump. Yesterday, when leaving the CB and I was passing the more halt and lame than me, I knew I would not be the weak one in the pack and would fair well if I pick up my feet and walk correctly and stay away from things that trip me.
I returned home a little after 5;00 and came home feeling accomplished but oh so very tired. The trip had taken a lot of energy, mainly from the newness of it and needing to be hyper alert. All throughout the day I had been checking in on the Houston flood situation and I used that time in the truck to pray for friends and loved ones being affected by the rain or not to be affected by the rain.