Thursday, January 27, 2011

The New Year

The tree is down, the gifts put away and the new resolutions have already gone by the wayside.  It is time to tackle the house again.

But first I have come down to SoCal to visit my mom, Super Granny.  With the price of gas being so high I decided to check out train travel.  What a delight!  Not only was it pleasant but it was also interesting.  I took the "San Joaquin" which travels from Sacramento to Bakersfield.  I boarded in Stockton, twelve miles north of our home.  By the next stop, Modesto, I was very glad I had not driven.  The Valley was rife with the notorious January tule fog.  Until Fresno, about an hour and a half south, I had a four person table to myself.  But at each stop the train loaded more passengers and I Fresno a young attorney sat down opposite me.  At the next stop, two released prisoners from the local state prison boarded (with many other people) and sat at the table on the other side of the aisle.  It was fascinating to talk to the successful young attorney and at the same time listen to the released prisoners.  The younger of the two discussed the crime he went to prison for (grand theft of a cell phone, his second strike) and how he didn't understand why they make him serve two years because his first strike was a juvenile offense.  He didn't seem to get it that theft was wrong.  He was mostly sorry that his mother was upset.  The older parolee had been "saved" and seemed to be mentoring the younger one.  Will keep both of them in my good thoughts with hope for their success in their lives.
What a contrast and how lucky we are who have taken the high road for whatever reason we have (good families, enough money, fear, religious training or luck or...?)

The train terminated in Bakersfield and I transffered to an Amtrak thruway bus which brought me the rest of the way, dropping me in Newhall.  I had asked Super Granny to wait at home for me to call as I got close to Newhall.  When I phoned, there was no answer.  I phoned several times more hoping she just missed the call but there was still no answer.  When I got to the station  I called Homer's dogmother and Super G's neighbor, Marge but her line was busy.  So I called another of Mom's friends and found that Mom had gone for lunch at the Senior Center, which is just up the street from the depot, and had been seen walking around the station.  So I went in search of Mom's car.   I hauled my b--- and all my luggage around two parking lots without luck.  Went back to the station and stood there in a quandary. What now?  Then I noticed a little old lady with a book in her hand.  Viola!  Super G!

I am ashamed to say I gave her a tongue lashing for not doing what I asked.  So she got mad and wouldn't talk to me!  That was old behavior from when I was a teen which I recognized right off! (Growth for me)  So I told her how worried I had been when she didn't answer the phone and then when her friend had seen her at the station but I couldn't find her and I apologized for yelling.  Worked out much better than pouting.

We had a nice evening and she beat me at Upwords.

After enjoying  the week with Mom I traveled home again on the train.  A little excitement in Madera when a car full of youngsters tried to (and actually did) beat the train across the tracks!  The train barely scrapped the car.  The engineer stopped to check for damage.  There was none, thankfully and so we kept going.

I arrived in Stockton right on time but no Big Guy and Pup to pick me up!  I had called from Modesto so I knew he knew I would be arriving.   There were three other passengers whose rides didn't show, too.  We all laughed about it.  After waiting about a half an hour Big Guy and Pup arrived and I got to drive my big truck home.

Train travel is my new mode of transportation!  I loved it. 

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