Friday, January 13, 2006

A Day With Ian

I spent the last 20 or so hours visiting with my friend Ian from Australia who now lives in London. Ian and I have a number of things in common, including having worked for the same international pharmaceutical company, being fans of the same musical and film group, 1 Giant Leap, and an unbelievably strong and abiding love of basketball. Ian worked with coaches in Australia who had a hand in the development of AndrewBogut, last years number one NBA draft pick and his wife, Nerida, played on the Australian Junior Women's National Team.
(Left: Inside the Dean Dome at UNC-Chapel Hill.)

I picked Ian up last night around 6:30 and we dined at Nikos Taverna at Brightleaf Square after having walked along the watercourse in the American Tobacco Historic District. After dinner, we drove around Duke Campus for a view of the Chapel and the tents in Coach K-ville.

Today, despite a foggy start, we made a stop at Bennett Place to see the museum and to learn more about the surrender of the Confederate troops in the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida in April, 1865. Sadly, the replicas of the Bennett's homes were locked. By that point, we had lost interest and didn't seek out the curator to gain access to the homes. We simply peered into the windows to get an idea of the period furnishings.

Our next stop was Chapel Hill for a quick tour of the University of North Carolina. We walked from Franklin Street down to the Student Union, with a stop in the North Carolina Room of Wilson library where we saw original drawings of the Lost Colony of 1585, and an exhibit on Chang and Eng, the original "Siamese" twins who made their homes in Surry County, NC.

After this tour, we had lunch at Mama Dip's Country Kitchen where Ian was able to taste fried green tomatoes, fried okra, hushpuppies, pulled pork barbecue, barbecued chicken and cornbread with sweet tea. We talked briefly about the movie Fried Green Tomatoes and how it is his wife, Nerida's, favorite film. I told him that I enjoy the film too because of its setting in a rural diner similar to the one my mom operated, although my mom never cooked fried green tomatoes as far as I know. Mama Dip sure can "put a scald on them", though, as Evelyn Couch's husband would have said about them, no doubt. (Left: A fried green tomato slice with hushpuppy.)

The highlight of our visit together, though, was a visit to the Dean Dome where we reviewed the history of Tar Heel Basketball from 1924 through today. We then took seats in section 108-109 to watch the first 45 minutes of a practice session of the men's basketball team. I think Ian was quite excited to observe the team in its drills, and it wasn't enough to have a courtfull of basketball notables in front of us, but seated two seats away was Jay Bilas, former Duke player and ESPN commentator who was scouting the practice for tomorrow's broadcast of our Miami-UNC game.

(Left: Championship banners of 1924, 1957, 1982, 1993 and 2005 hanging in the rafters of the Dean Dome, UNC-Chapel Hill, NC.)

Ian's flight for London was schedule for 5:45, so we had to leave the practice before it ended for a quick drive to the airport. I left Ian at the curb of terminal C, gave him a hug and asked him to pass one on to his wife Nerida. By this time, the sky had turned gray, and Ian said that it was a prelude to his return to London.

I have to thank Coach McGrath at UNC and the other coaches and players for allowing us to sit in on practice today. It is such a wonderful pleasure for me to see the UNC team in person and Ian, no doubt, enjoyed the afternoon as well. I am truly grateful.

(Left: A happy writer photographed by his friend Ian inside the Dean Dome, UNC-Chapel Hill.)



Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2/12/2006 09:45:00 PM  
Blogger Ron Hudson said...

Editor's note: I just found a rambling comment on the blog on 1 July 2006. As far as I can tell, it had absolutely nothing to do with my post about meeting with Ian, and it was signed by "Anonymous". Since it was a ranting bunch of lunacy and the person didn't bother to sign his/her name, I have chosen to delete the comment.

Ron Hudson

7/01/2006 06:45:00 AM  

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