On Christmas Eve, my son Ray, my nephew Adam and I boarded a train at the Kirkwood station bound for Union Station in Kansas City. Adam had been on trains in the past. Having taken this very train a few years earlier and even earlier, having travelled via train with his mother and siblings from somewhere in southern California, across the west, to Kansas City, where my parents picked them up. The train was late that day so mom and dad drove a short distance from Union Station and ate lunch at a small place called the Tic Toc diner.
The train ride was..soothing. The mild clickety-clack from the rails, the whoot-whoot as we passed crossings, the blur of fields and woods, small towns and houses. The landscape, which should have seemed so familiar, from the seat of a train, seemed foreign.
We settled in for the ride with books and brought-along-drinks (word of caution, never eat train food). The evening before the trip, I had taken "care packages" of Christmas goodies to my sister's and brother's houses. Ray had been with me. We decided to go to Pi in Kirkwood rather than the one in U-City, because it sits between Amanda's house and Arthur's house and we were hungry. Arriving there we found that the wait would be nearly an hour. Instead of waiting inside we grabbed the buzzer-thingy and drove down the road to Arthur's house (like, maybe, ten blocks if that), delivering the bag of christmas stuff and visiting with him and Patty and two of their children. Leaving their house, we returned to the restaurant--still packed--and arrived at the door just as our buzzer began beeping, letting us know that the table was ready, perfect timing!
Of course on a train, you meet people, beginning and stalling and ending conversations. Sometimes others around join in the conversation, which is exactly what happened. In the midst of conversing, Dylan called and so excusing myself, I walked to where there were few people (the dining car) and we talked.
Can I name all the small towns we went through? I remember Herman and Jefferson City (of course), I should have looked for Tipton, but completely missed it..there was Sedalia and then others..my eyes were beginning to close (as were Ray's and Adam's)..we were all, sleeping. Eventually we arrived at Union Station, where we pulled out bags and christmas packages from the overhead shelf, disembarked and walked up a long flight of stairs. In the middle of the station stood a large Christmas tree. It wasn't long before we found mother, waiting, as always, in the parking lot, smiling.
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6