Saturday, September 28, 2013

Southern Comfort Odyssey 1: Tarheels

A couple of weeks ago, I attended the 2013 Southern Comfort Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.  It was a huge event, and I drove down there.  There is so much to write about that I will divide it into parts.  As I post the parts, I will link to them.  Just like I did with the Keystone Conference.  Everyone got that?  Is this thing on?  *tap tap*

If you'd like to read my column on TG Forum about this same event, you can find it HERE.

So.  I drove down to Atlanta with my "Big Sister" Mel.  We did this in two stages, as we drove first to Chapel Hill, NC, home of the University of North Carolina.  We went there as she wanted to visit her daughter, who is a student there, and so the drive would be broken into two days.

I woke up at 4:30 in the morning as I was picking up Mel at 5:30.  I really couldn't sleep, as I was excited about the trip and still reeling over the events of two days before.  I'd packed earlier in the night.  I was ready except for that whole "not a morning person" thing.

I picked her up and we set off in the fog and rain south towards Baltimore, Washington DC, Richmond... Oh please let there be no traffic in the construction zones...

Thank you Labor Day!  The workers were off... so there were no real jam ups!  So we flew by those cities.  As I drove past Richmond, I waved to my friend Ally Raymond, who lives somewhere in the area.  A symbolic gesture, but fun anyway.

I've never seen as many police cars on a highway as I did in Virginia.  Over 50!  So I drove relatively slowly. 

We arrived in Chapel Hill before noon.  As we couldn't check into the hotel until 3, we went downtown to find something to eat.  As I had very little breakfast, I was hungry!

We walked down East Franklin Street and settled on a place.  Spanky's.  I had the BBQ platter.   It was predictably amazing.


After lunch, Mel and I walked down onto campus.  All around were groups of girls in sundresses.  It was sorority rush at UNC, and they take their Greek system VERY seriously down south.  The girls were dressed to impress.

The Well

There were groups everywhere, listening to "Rush captains." 

The campus was simply beautiful.

It was incredibly hot there, and soon I was soaked with sweat.  Mel and I went to the Grille at Four Corners.  We ordered beer and wings.  And the wings were quite good.  While there, I saw one of the waitresses receive a blue dress from our waitress.  I guessed it was for a dance later.  From The Four Corners, Mel went to meet her daughter for dinner.  They were going to some other restaurant.  I decided to explore a bit.  I walked onto campus and looked at some of the monuments, then I decided to get some dinner.

As I walked down the street, I saw the waitress, now wearing the blue dress.  She seemed in a hurry.  Of course!  She was also rushing a sorority!  I took a quick picture.  Looking at her, I felt so jealous.  She was petite and beautiful.  I wished I had been a GG in college.  But I wasn't.  And wishing won't change that.

I ended up at the Top of the Hill, where I had a beer.  Then Mel and her daughter came in.  I didn't want to be there as I knew they wanted their privacy, I went back down the street to the Four Corners, where I sat at the bar, and ordered another round of wings.

Mel eventually rejoined me, and I drove her and her daughter back to her daughter's dorm on the other side of campus.  From there, we went and checked into the hotel.  We were both tired, so went to bed early. 

The next morning, we left early for the long trip to Atlanta.  It was a brilliant sunny day, just as hot as the day before.  We made good time and didn't hardly see any police officers.   By 1 PM, we arrived in Atlanta, and checked into the Crowne Plaza Hotel.  As she was rooming with me, Mel suggested I request a room on the second floor, which we got. I soon saw the wisdom in that, as the elevator situation would soon become quite ridiculous.

To be continued in Part 2.

And Concluded in Part 3


  1. Hello Sophie.. Emily here.. My Google account is in my drab name and that is why i posted anonymous.. As you can tell i am up very late because i don,t sleep well!! actually i don't sleep much at all!! Sophie in trying to contact you since attending the last Monthly Ren meeting and BBQ and then going to Shangrila afterwards i have sent you 2-3 emails but haven't received any replies?? and i was getting worried but i remembered that you had a blog and found it and i have read almost all of your writings and you have put your heart and soul out there!! It is a wonder that with all the bad things that have happened in your life recently and mine that we are both still here!! Since i see you just post about your going to the SCC and also a Final Farewell to Lisa i guess you are somewhat Ok?? In reading how much you love your Daughter i believe that your love for her will help you!! I remember meeting Lisa at the Keystone Conference and also at a few other function since and i can tell you i always felt jealous of her as she always looked Fantastic and she always seemed as if she was very happy and having fun!! I am VERY Sorry for her and for you and that you have lost such a good friend!! I am also jealous of you talking of your big sister Mel as i wish i had a big sister.. In reading about Lisa you wrote about a Dr. Thomas Joiner and his theories about people who attempted suicide have three things in common and i have all 3?? Hopefully you will email me when you can!! Take Care.. Emily

  2. Oh wow, you spent a little time in my neck of the woods (sort of, Chapel Hill is 1.5 hours away). I feel the same way when I see college girls and have always been envious of them. Oh, to be a gg or to have that kind of youth again. Anyway, you are on your way to being able to live as the woman you are, and if you ever pass through here how about dropping me a line? I would love to join you/y'all for some beer and wings..:)