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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Day Three - You Two Gypsies Must Return to Coach Class at Once!

A man and a woman, who had never met before, found themselves assigned to the same sleeping room on a transcontinental train. Although initially embarrassed and uneasy over sharing a room, the two are tired and fall asleep quickly -- he in the upper bunk and she in the lower. At 2:00 a.m., he leans over and gently wakes the woman, saying, "Ma'am, I'm sorry to bother you, but would you be willing to reach into the closet to get me a second blanket? I'm awfully cold." "I have a better idea," she replies. "Just for tonight, let's pretend that we're married." "Wow! That's a great idea!!" he exclaims. "Good," she replies. "Get your own damn blanket."

     Saturday, Jan 30- Well after three days and two nights on the train I now realize that it was a much more interesting and enlightening experience than I had anticipated. We competely enjoyed every aspect of this railway journey! One of the most memorable things was the vast spectrum of different kinds of people we both met and observed onboard. Sheila and I tried to make a game of solving "the great train mystery" every time we noticed people who caught our attention. Some of the best were these: The little old man in the full length fur coat and lots of flashy jewelry. He would only sit in the dining car with his back toward the direction it travelled and got quite upset with Amtrak personel rearranging his seating. They always seat you with other people at the table to make room in the dining car. He made it clear that he would not sit facing forward as they requested. We also noticed when other people were seated at his table he would just ignore them, not talking at all to them and just looking all around but not at them! He was a very strange little man and we wondered what his story was. One night another older gentleman was seated at his table and we thought they knew each other. Mr. Fur Coat ignored him also. It turned out that a very young blonde lady, who looked to be only 13-15 years old joined this new older guy (Mr. Cowboy Hat) and sat right beside him. We listened trying to hear if he introduced her to Mr. Fur Coat as his grand-daughter but we soon figured out she was his "traveling companion" as she went on how short life was, how people always thought she was much younger than she was, all the while chugging down glass after glass of red wine, no doubt paid for by Mr. Cowboy Hat. I wondered if he knew just  how short his life would be if he planned on climbing into a sleeping car with this young blonde bombshell.  Funny thing though...we never saw either one of them again! Mr. Fur Coat was there in the dining car everyday aterwards always ignoring whoever sat at his table. There was another guy we named Mr.Smiley because he always managed to sit alone in the dining car and always stared at people with a very strange smile but also didn't talk to anyone as far as we could tell. Somehow the dining car attendants also never seemed to seat anyone at his table either. We thought this very odd and soon I got the creepy feeling as he stared my way that he was like Hannibal Lecter wishing he could "have an old friend for dinner". There was also The Twins, a couple that were about our age and we thought that because they had been together for so long that they started looking just like one another. They both had short gray hair and features, both wore the same type wire rimmed glasses, jeans, black turtlenecks sweaters and white sneakers. We then immediately checked that we were not dressed alike! We were safe, at least for the time being. One morning we also met "Johnny Cash-The Man in Black". He came into the dining car dressed completly in black with his coat buttoned up to the neck, the collar turned up and with black fingerless gloves on, He proceeded to order a fancy breakfast with all kinds of special cooking conditions when the dining attendant told him that he had to have just what was listed on the menu. I think he took offence at that because he quickly decided what to order, gulped it down all the while wearing his black fingerless gloves and left the car. I did notice that he left a five dollar bill as a tip though. I thought for sure he wouldnn't leave a tip. The lady who occupied the sleeper across the corridor from us had been traveling alone since Canada and I guess she was was lonely because she went on and on at the slightest hint on our part that we were even remotely interested in hearing a half hour description if how the shower works onboard the train. We called her Mary Ellen after the character in Bill Bryson's book about the Appalachian Trail. She was very nice lady but would talk endlessly to you like you were her lifelong friend using all the names of people she knew just like you knew who she was talking about! When she would finally leave our doorway we would say to each other, "who the hell is Donna, or what the hell do I care what Billy said?" When we were getting off the train in Texas she made sure we had her business card in case we were ever in Canada we "were to look her up"! The last night we were on the train we slept like the dead! We were exhausted and didnt even wake as the train ran into a severe ice storm and they had to light fires to unfreeze the switchgear on the track. The train was over three hours behind schedule when we woke in the morning and didnt get into Fort Worth until about 4pm. We caught a cab from the train station in Fort Worth and went and picked up our car, got a motel room and tried to decide where the gypsies were headed next!

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