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An adult stage 

My wife is looking for a job in Durham, and I have a front-row seat to the show. It's compelling theater, except that the cost of the production is only getting higher. But for all its inspiration and good will, I wouldn't miss it.

On Duke Street, the credit union is working with us to make sure we don't default on our mortgages. In Woodcroft, at the top of the hill where I used to watch gorgeous sunsets before I got remarried, my townhouse still sits unsold. This very morning, though, we're strapping on tool belts in hopes of changing that, with help from the promised housing rebound. Our realtor friend, Jennifer, is hustling to make this deal a win-win for everybody.

On Foster Street, Sean dispenses beer and optimism in equal measure. He once had time to play church softball with me and all the other questionably pious folk in the league, but now Fullsteam's his all-in-all. That's the dream.

Bull City Forward offers encouragement and practical tools for my wife's fledgling consulting business over on Duke Street. Her freshly minted business cards promise "Creative Thinking, Integrative Planning, Strong Results." Want your business to run smoothly? Hire Celeste.

A little farther down Main, Roberto and Elizabeth make us a Tampa at the Old Havana Sandwich Shop before wishing us buena suerte. If the meal is any indication, they are in for a delicious future, too. Catty-corner from Old Havana stands St. Philip's Church; I lose count of the number of people who have helped us there. In turn, we throw in our pittance to assist the people on Liberty Street (what a name!), who are so much closer to the edge of broke than we are.

If you go another couple blocks, you're at Golden Belt, where artists who pursue their dream provide a vision of brightness for us all. Meanwhile, we hold on to helping our kids pursue their own loves—fencing on Ninth, dancing on Fayetteville. We'll do it for as long as we can. The kids help out, after all. One daughter has a job painting kids' faces at parties, thanks to yet another Durham small-business owner. Before that, Southpoint let her learn fashion and retail.

In Durham, sometimes it seems like we all have master's degrees, or more, from one great local university or another. So many of us want to stay here and have a good job that it gets competitive. But as I've found lately, it also gets cooperative.

A connection in the religious think-tank to which my wife donates her time said that if she wanted to get ordained as a priest in the Anglican Church in Canada, she would be in high demand near the shores of Lake Ontario. Well, it's a thought, but for now, Durham is the best show we know.

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