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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Freelance Travel Writing Topics: Nights in Rodanthe

We left Kitty Hawk and headed over to the nearby Walgreens to drop off my film. Next, I headed out towards Rodanthe. I was intrigued to see this town where film crews, actors, directors and spectators had been abuzz last year. As mentioned previously, Rodanthe was the town featured in the movie Nights In Rodanthe starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane. We passed by Bodie Light Station on Bodie Island. This light station is not as tall as the Hatteras Light Station, yet similar with its stripes of black and white. We did not stop to visit this lighthouse as the day was passing quickly. We needed to cross yet another bridge. There were caution signs on our side of the bridge with a lane closed up ahead. Natasha was resting in her seat. Red was sniffing the sea air through the cracked window. This trip was the first one in our 7 years together where Red and I traveled to the coast. I noticed he seemed to be enjoying himself.

Not a bad life for a dog who came into my life on a cold, snowy day in January 2002 up in Connecticut. He wandered into my yard and I noticed he was wearing a collar with no tag. He was very shy and would not come over to me. I already had one Rottweiler and two Shepherd Huskies. I saw the big red dog again that day resting in the snow in a neighbor's yard (neighbors who did not have a dog.) My instinct said STRAY. So, I put out food and water in my front yard under one of the fire bushes. Nothing happened. However, on the next day, the food was gone and there were crumbs in the freezing water dish. I proceeded to repeat this procedure for 3 weeks. The dog would come after dark and then disappear. I saw him walk past my hedge one night at 11:30 pm. I let him eat without disturbance.

Then, one morning, the food was still there. I panicked for Red. Since I did not know his name, I nicknamed him Red to keep it simple. I drove around my neighborhood for an hour and a half looking for Red. I could not find him anywhere I searched. Finally, I had to go in to my job which just happened to be located next to the local dog pound. I glanced over towards the kennel not really expecting to see the dog. Then, something red caught my eye. I drove in there and there he was. A very negative sign was posted on his cage. I told the big dog not to worry about anything.  He was shivering. He was staying in the outside run rather than being warm inside. On the one hand I felt very bad for him, and yet, on the other hand I was relieved that he had finally been caught. I tried to reassure him by saying I would be back on my lunch hour to meet with the animal control officer.

True to my word, I came right back on my lunch hour. My friend Linda, the animal control officer, was already there. She explained how she caught him after 3 attempts. I and another neighbor had both alerted her to the dog. She said he was a chow rottweiler cross and more than likely, no one would adopt him. She said the owner had 7 days to claim him. I kept up on his progress reports and visited him every day. He had whined to me that first day of his confinement. I pleaded for him on the 6th day. I offered to bring my Rottweiler Ty to meet him. Linda said it would be better for the dogs to meet on Ty's home grounds. She agreed to let me take him. First, we had him neutered as he was about 8 months old judging by his gleaming, white teeth. She dropped him at the veterinarian for me. I paid the proper fee for adoption and the next day went to pick him up. His back legs were bandaged and I inquired as to what happened. I was told he had dew claws on his hind feet that needed to be removed. The vet said he could rip one of those dew claws and could bleed to death. So, I put the dog in my van and drove him home.

Upon arriving home, I had Ty meet Red first. They bonded immediately. Probably because of three things, Red's young age, Ty's good nature, and their common Rottweiler heritage. On the other hand, my shepherd huskies did not like him too much. So, Red and I formed a trust right from the start of our association. He has not once ever tried to be alpha or rebellious with me or his siblings. He has grown into a loving, protective, beautiful, and most intelligent, companion. We have respect for one another.

I have always admired him for surviving for at least 3 weeks on his own as a half-grown pup just outside Hartford, Connecticut's city limits. So, due to life changes including divorce, career changes and relocation, Red and I have done a great deal of traveling together. Now, we have traveled out to the beautiful beaches of the OBX. Continuing on the highway to Rodanthe, we crossed over the bridge and went out to Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. This coastal refuge is home to many varieties of birds. We looked around as we were driving along, however, we did not make a stop here either.

Then, up on the left side of us by the beach, we came up to Serendipity. Serendipity is the house featured in Nights of Rodanthe. It was quite solitary now without all the activity of the film production or the seasonal visitors. I took a photo of the striking home and kept on traveling towards the Cape Hatteras Light Station. I was later able to obtain a copy of a local newspaper which featured an article on the film and the house. I have made a mental note to rent the DVD and see this film where the OBX and its beauty, charm, and especially its citizens, were highlighted.

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Wilkesboro, NC, United States
My interest with writing began by composing poems about nature in my childhood. I also co-wrote a play in my 4th grade class when I lived in New Rochelle, NY. It generated enough positive feedback that my class put on the play in the school auditorium. I was fortunate to have a lead part. After my high school graduation, I entered the working world. For over 30 years I have been steadily gaining writing, editing and digital publishing skills. I began by composing letters and emails to company clients. I contributed to articles written for The Commuters Register based in Windsor, CT. Since 2009, I have added social media, digital publishing and blogging here in Wilkesboro, NC. Since 2010, I write ad copy for the listing descriptions for each of my 3 Internet shops open at In 2012, I entered a poem about my dog Red in the World Poetry Contest. The poem was chosen for publication. I have written articles for the Winston-Salem Frugal Living Examiner and Hub Pages. In 2012, I acquired The Wilkes Gazette digital newspaper that was renamed the Wilkes County Gazette in 2014. I write under both my own name and my pen name, Jeanne Armonk.

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