Monday, February 24, 2014

Monday Memories - The Ride

One event can spark a half-dozen memories.

Event:  I rode the bus to Abe and Grace’s when Henry was born and then caught the train back home. 

Memory Spark:  My grandmother used to ride the Greyhound to our house when I was a kid.  I never expected to be my grandmother.  As the bus swayed along I thought of her riding the bus in pink curlers and going to the depot to pick her up at 11:00 at night.

Memory Spark:  I used to pump gas at Rogerson Service when I was a teen-ager.  One summer a man came in and sat at the counter to drink a pop.  He was hitch-hiking and said he hitch-hiked every summer to give him perspective.  He was a dentist and he said that hitch-hiking allowed him to meet interesting, everyday people and see things he missed being in a white jacket and office every day.   

Riding the bus, I think I understand what he meant. The clientele of those who ride buses is different from those who buy plane tickets or drive their own vehicles.  Many bus-riders are down and out, and  I have met some very interesting people on the bus.  One of them was the toothless woman I sat next to this time.  She was riding from North Dakota to California to take care of her 93 year old mother.  She was fascinating and friendly and hungry.  I only had a coarse, dry peanut butter sandwich and an apple to offer and neither was of help to her.

Memory Spark:   Between here and Seattle is a bad mountain pass, and during the winter the freeway sometimes closes because of storms and avalanche warnings.  As the bus slogged its way through the snow-covered mountain pass, it reminded me of a scene from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.  The scene when the Pontipee brothers capture the town-girls and carry them away to their farm up the canyon.  Adam tells his brothers to keep the girls quiet or their screaming will cause an avalanche. They boys clamp their mittened hands over the girls' mouths until they're safely through the pass and then Adam tells them to let the girls yell. The girls' screams cause an avalanche which secures their capture until Spring. 

ceiling in King Street Train Station

Memory Spark:  On the train ride home we stopped at King Street Train Station.  It was ornate and reminded me of the train station in Chicago with wooden, high-backed benches, marble looking pillars, fancy ceiling, and big clocks.

Not my Greyhound Grandma, but my other grandma took most of us grandkids on an Amtrak train from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Ogden, Utah when I was 12 or 13 years old.  We slept in berths and ate in the dining car on tables with white linen tablecloths and single roses in their very own vases.  There is nothing quite like walking between cars on a moving train.  It was a bit boring sometimes, but it was a wonderful experience seeing the countryside and when I first heard this quote . . . 

"Life is like an old time rail journey...delays...sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride” (Jenkins Lloyd Jones)

. . . it made perfect sense to me because of that experience.

along the Washington coast

Memory Spark:  No one makes you take your necklace, shoes, or jacket off and walk through an x-ray machine when you board a train or bus.   No one opens up your suitcase or sends it through a scanner.   No one weighs it and charges you an extra $50. No one tells you to throw away your bottle of water or confiscates your pocketknife.  No one tells you to turn off your computer or keep your lap clear.  No one checks your ID or tells you to stuff your bag in the overhead bin.  No one panics when the train is 20 minutes late that you'll miss the connecting train.  You are the connecting train.  Your seats are big and soft.  I fondly remembered how air travel used to be.  

Memory Spark:  Pulling into the train depot near home and anticipating seeing Calvin gave me that fluttery feeling as if we were still young and dating . . . and reminded me of every romantic homecoming I’ve ever seen in the movies.

Except, life is like a rail journey and better than the movies.  


abe said...

Great post, Mom!

Ande said...

I love reading your blogs and memories. Thanks for sharing.

Melinda said...

This is so beautifully written. I really enjoy your Monday memories posts!

Grandma & Grandpa said...

I love the way you live life to its fullest and appreciate and absorb all the good things around you! You & Calvin are amazing people! Thanks for inspiring us! L&V

Neighbor Jane Payne said...

Thank you Abe. Thanks, too, for a great week and picking me up at the depot and dropping me off at the station.

Thank you Ande and Melinda for reading . . . and for appreciating the memories posts. I'm glad to get them down (it's like back journaling) and am glad they don't bore you.

Loye, the feeling is mutual. Very mutual.