From Ann Arbor MI to New Orleans French Quarter Music Festival 2013
10.04.2013 - 11.04.2013 67 °F
“Next stop; Greenwood Mississippi.” A robust motherly African American female Amtrak employee breezes through the lounge car, “This will be a smoke stop; ya’ll gotta be quick though, it’s only a few minutes”. Her friendly voice makes you glad to be under her watch.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been on a train long enough to blog about it. This is my sixth trip through the Mississippi Delta, once driving down the Mississippi Blues Trail, once a fly over, but mostly on this train, the City of New Orleans. Oddly, the swamps, cotton fields, these poverty stricken towns which most of my lifetime I never gave much thought to seeing now feel familiar as I gaze out the lounge car window.
This train is a friendly train. Not all are. I’ve been on some Mardi Gras trains which, to my disappointment, were none too festive. Sharing a meal in a captive situation with people who have no desire to connect with one another - awkward! Last night was a different story; I was seated with an enthusiastic couple whose passion for New Orleans equals, possibly even exceeds my own; there was instant rapport. They have been to the French Quarter Music Festival numerous times, were even married there (on a paddle boat) and they return every FQ Music Festival to celebrate their anniversary. How’s that for a love story folks!
The fourth man in our dinner booth last night was a retired biology teacher, seemingly nice man whom I would have liked to have gotten to know better but he was extremely quiet so I was disappointed in that regard. He travels two times a year, part of his retirement plan. This time he decided to see New Orleans and imagine this, he was completely unaware that he’s going there during one of the biggest events of the year, The French Quarter Music Festival! He told us he “doesn’t like crowds”. No wonder the poor man didn’t say much, the three of us immersed him body and soul, evangelical we were in our passion and determination to make him a convert! We all exchanged contact info, but I doubt I will see John again, my guess is he’ll rent a car and drove to quieter parts of Louisiana!
As usual I did not sleep in my sleeper last night, I comatosed; happens nearly every time I do an overnight train. The experience does not feel like the frustrating sleeplessness one experiences at home when trying to go to sleep but can’t. This is a semi-conscious state of being, everything goes to sleep but my ears and my thoughts, I hear every sound and the mind drones pleasantly on and on. Such a comfortable state of being, the sounds, the rocking, and the isolatation of the sleeper compartment. I arise thinking I have not slept a wink yet there is no hangover from lack of sleep. I only attain this state of being by purchasing an Amtrak ticket.
I’m relieved to have finished this blog entry having wondered if blogging would be words too many for you all since I basically and inappropriately semi-blog on Facebook every day! Out of loyalty to Train of Thoughts and my oh-so-loyal friends who patiently indulge and share in my passions, I put down these words and hope they find their way to someone who enjoys reading them.