Goldsboro, NC is certainly an interesting town, to say the least. We attended a wedding there for the past four days. Four days, you ask? Why yes. You see, weddings in the south apparantly involve far more other events than the actual wedding itself. Every day there was a brunch and a dinner, for example. It seems up here in the northeast, weddings are generally comprised of a ceremony plus a reception. Not so down there.

Anyway, I did have some time to go exploring in and around Goldsboro and what I found was a very depressing downtown area, filled with busted windows, empty storefronts and abandoned bars and restaurants. At one time, probably during the 1950’s, I envisioned this town absolutely buzzing with commerce, diners and kids in hot-rods. It seemed at one point this area could have been straight out of American Graffiti (later on, in talking to some adults who were born and raised there, my vision was confirmed). What a shame it’s fallen so hard. These days, much of the action in Goldsboro is located on the outskirts, where the Wal-Mart’s and Target’s have moved in. Quite sad, if you ask me.

Anyway, here’s some pictures I took. These are mostly of the downtown Goldsboro area. I suppose I could have gone around and snapped pictures of Wal-Mart, or the local country club and all the mansions on the country club road, but that would be boring. So I did what I normally do when I’m somewhere new – I try to find the real town, the real flavor – in this case, it’s a sad sight, but nonetheless I got some good pictures. One more note: I cannot say enough about the people of Goldsboro and the south in general. They’re nice to a fault – look no further than the picture in the slideshow of the guy with the umbrella attached to his head. I really wish we had some of that up here in Massachsusetts……

Upon landing yesterday in Boston, I had little time to rest, for I attended the homecoming party for my Uncle Bob, who is close to 60 years old, and also his brother Eric. Thay are both in the National Guard and had spent about a year in Iraq, about five miles south of Fallujah, in a support unit. Talking with them was pretty interesting. As you might expect, what they saw over there and what we see on the news are two completely different things. What a shocker, huh? Anyway, both seemed to agree heartily that our troops were sent over very unprepared. Their equipment was outdated, they were not educated on Iraqi customs or culture and it was at times, disorgazined. Also, they were bored stiff. They worked 8 hour days, followed by 24 hours off for the whole year. In leafing through the photo album they brought back, I noticed more than once pictures of temperature gauges, which were almost always above 120 degrees. Yikes.

However, one thing they did mention was that there is a lot of good things happening over there that we never or rarely see. Most Iraqi’s are very happy we’re there, despite what you see on the news and the polls you see in the newspapers. We’re building infrastructure. We’re hiring them to help around our bases. They appreciate it and I found that interesting. Anyway, I’m still 100% opposed to what’s going on over there but it was good to get some real perspective on things.

By the way, never did make it to the antique farm equipment show – it was rained out.