Tuesday, June 06, 2006


We spent a good share of our weekend EATING. Saturday afternoon, we attended a reception on the East Campus on the lawn. This involved great food, some of which was served by Allie's co-workers from Trinity Cafe. I was putting some melon and cheese on my plate, when I heard someone say "That's Allie's Grandma!" It was Allie's close Trinity buddy and she was pointing me out to other personnel who were keeping track of the platters of food.

Allie's father arrived in the area later, and met us at a Greek Restaurant within walking distance of Allie's dorm. Allie, her grandfather, mother, and I walked there. Allie's father is Greek, Allie is half Greek, so a Greek restaurant was the order of the day. The food was good, and Allie's father treated us to dinner.

The next morning, we had to arrive at Duke early, as Graduation started in the Stadium at 9:30. Allie, of course, had to be there before that, to line up for the Procession. I will discuss this wonderful event in a separate post, as I am writing about food at this time.

After a reception following her receiving her Diploma in the Art Museum, we went to lunch at Elmo's, again a treat by her father. I ate strawberry pancakes and they were delicious. I don't remember what the other members of the party had. Allie recommended the strawberry pancakes, and that sounded good, so it was my choice - fresh strawberries and whipped cream heaped on the great flavored pancakes.

Dinner that evening was at an interesting restaurant in Durham, at an outdoor mall, a treat by Grandfather. Coral and I had pecan crusted trout - mmmmm. I have never had this, and it was a definite treat. Allie ate buffalo meatloaf. The restaurant was a Rocky Mountain Grille type of place.

Monday, June 05, 2006

A Dream Come True

It is possible to watch Duke Chapel webcasts to be a part of the services and wonderful music of the Chapel Choir. It is even better, of course, to actually be in the amazing Gothic edifice, and watch the Choir processional, to have the sounds envelope you to the point of having tears in your eyes and being hardly able to breathe because you are so choked up.

The best thing of all is to be in the choir section, where you are totally surrounded by the music; the huge sound of the massive pipe organs, the swelling voices of the choir members, the brass instruments and tympanies.

I was so lucky to be able to sit with the choir during Baccalaureate, along with Coral and Allie's Grandfather. Both the AEolian & the Flentrop Organs were used for the Anthem Kyrie eleison, sung in Greek. Allie had reported that in her years in the choir she had never performed when both organs were used.

We had entered the Chapel through a side door, just like members of the Choir, and worked our way through rooms and up stairways, where Allie opened the door to the Choir and Altar area, instructing us to take our seats in a specific section set aside for a few parents and some dignitaries.

The Procession of Candidates for Degrees was very impressive, even though it was one- third of the class. We stood while they were filing in to their seats, and had a great view of them doing so.

The Choir was in the areas near the front doors where they line up for the procession. A most beautiful piece was performed while they were in that area of the Chapel, behind the pillars, a Choral Adulation sung in Church Slavonic. It made me shiver.

After the Choir reached the Altar, we had a wonderful view of Allie in her Graduation Cap & Gown while she was singing. The Seniors in the Choir wore their Caps & Gowns.

I wish the service had been longer, because the time flew by, and I knew that I would never have another chance to be with the Choir, after several years of wishful thinking. It was absolutely wonderful.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Duke at Last

I was finally at Duke, after thinking about it for four years. The great part of it was that I spent the night in Allie's apartment on campus. She was RA and had a very nice apartment just inside the front door of the building. She was very gracious and actually let me sleep in her bedroom while she slept on her very short couch.

I had a great sleep, after all that I had been through on the trains. I did not get a sleeper on any train, so I did not get as much sleep as I usually do. In the morning, Allie attended a special luncheon with a professor, and I checked out East Campus. I found Trinity Cafe by myself, in the East Campus Union. Allie worked there for a good share of her time at Duke. I had a nice lunch and chatted with her friends. Then I took a shuttle to West Campus and spent a few hours walking through the wonderful Duke Gardens. Unfortunately, I had to dodge raindrops a few times, and was unable to complete the "tour" of the whole place. There were some sections that I didn't see, but I saw some great areas, beautifully laid out, with wonderful flowers.

Eventually, I went back to Allie's dorm, and she and I went out for dinner. We walked to Elmo's, a neat place which is very popular and has great food. After that I called a cab, at her insistance, and headed for my hotel. Allie felt that I definitely should not try to get there by bus, with all of my stuff. I had reservations for the next four nights in a decent place with a kitchenette, and a couple of shopping plazas next door. There were a few places to grab a bite to eat.

I had another great night's sleep, after watching some TV, did a bit of shopping the next day, and waited for Coral and Allie's grandfather to fly in from Buffalo. They arrived in the afternoon, and after eating together, we drove to Duke, where we met Allie in front of the Chapel. She was singing in the choir for Baccalaureate that day (Friday) at 5:00. We chose not to attend at that time, and planned to go to the Saturday morning service. The graduating class was so huge that Baccalaureate was divided into three sessions.

Friday evening was spent at Coral's friends' house in Durham, where we had a very nice dinner.

On the Road Again

On the railroad, that is. May 7, I left California to travel to Duke University for Allie's Graduation. That seems so long ago, that I can hardly remember what occurred on the trip. I had allowed an extra day for missed connections, but it seemed that I might actually miss Baccalaureate on Friday (I left home on Sunday morning). The train was very late arriving in Chicago, and the train that I had to catch to DC was waiting for us. Last year Amtrak had to provide hotel rooms for passengers on two trains that night, and I was 24 hours late arriving in Florida.

The next train was one from Washington to Raleigh, and it, too, was waiting for us. We were several hours late. We never went into Union Station, but walked across the platform straight into a car on the Southbound train.

I arrived in Raleigh late, and had to get a taxi from the station to Durham. That was certainly an expensive deal, but I basically had no choice. Buses between the two cities had ceased running, and I was dealing with heavy luggage. I made a deal with a couple of guys from one company and headed to Durham. Only one of the men went in the cab, and it turned out that he had no idea where he was going, of course. I was better at figuring it out than he was, and I have never been there.

We had called Allie on the driver's cell phone to make sure she was at her apartment in the dorm, then headed out. At some point, after we were on an expressway, he called Allie again to ask her what exit we should use. It was hard to understand him, and Allie couldn't help because she has had to remain basically on campus, or nearby, as she had no car.

Then I saw a sign that I felt led to the right exit, and I found the way to her dorm.