Amtrak ramblings

Notes from Amtrak 302.

A phone ringing in the business-class car just makes me grumpy.  Put the phone on vibrate when in public, people!

The last time I rose on purpose at 5.15 a.m. was to go to NYC in March.  I found this morning that I get out of bed at 5.15 more eagerly if the sun is already starting to shine, as it was this morning.  Somehow 5.15 didn’t feel so early.

Samson has been sleeping on top of the counterpane.  This is unusual since he most often sleeps under the covers.  But I’ve noticed that at 4.50 every morning – and I do mean nearly every morning – he crawls around from the right side of the bed to the left, paws his way under the counterpane, and snuggles up next to my chest.  He’s a curious dog.

The taxi driver this morning called the freeway ’64.’  I immediately said ‘You’re not from Saint Louis, are you?’  Yup.  She’s from outside of Columbus, Ohio.  How did I know?  All the locals call that highway ’40,’ and scoff at those of us who more progressively refer to it as ‘I 64.’

A very long freight train of empty coal cars has us on a siding somewhere south of Springfield, Illinois.

Happiness is a very clean house.  I experience happiness this past weekend.

Happiness is also reconnecting with old friends.  When I was in Lee’s Summit prior to Memorial Day, I went to Grace & Holy Trinity Cathedral in Kansas City to join the choir practice on Thursday evening, since I’ll be singing with this group in the West Counties of England next month.  I’ve blogged previously about GHTC being my home parish and my spiritual home.  I was reminded all over again that Thursday why I love that parish.  I first started going there regularly more than 20 years ago.  Time and distance have not altered the place in my heart held by GHTC, by John and Leona Schaefer, and by those wonderful choir members.

I was just doing the math.  Had I flown to Chicago, I’d have left home more than 90 minutes prior to a flight, had a 75-minute gate-to-gate, then a ten-minute walk at Midway to the Orange Line, then a 20-minute commute to the Loop.  That’s already nearly 3.5 hours.  By taking the train, I have a six-hour trip from the time I leave the house to the time I arrive in Chicago, but I’m in a relaxed environment, and one that’s not as noisy, and one that just begs for a nap, especially with all this space.  And I pay 1/3 of the round-trip price.  Train travel rocks!

So, a quick recall:  I’ve traveled by train in the USA, Denmark, the Netherlands, Scotland, England, Belgium, France, China, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Canada.  In Malaysia my travel was all by car and by coach; South America, by car and by air.  I do look forward to adding more countries to this list. . . .

Why Chicago?  I’m off to a fundraising seminar designed for college administrators and department chairs.  And I’m meeting up with alums whilst I’m in town for two nights.

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