January 20, 2019

The Family on the Train


As a part of my Christmas holiday travel, I worked in a trip on the Amtrak.

This was my fourth long haul train trip, first on the Texas Eagle (Fort Worth to Chicago, about 23 hours of travel). While the trip itself wasn’t memorable, by design.  The people on the train (and the views) are always what makes it worthwhile for my travel taste.

On this trip, the passengers who made the 23 hours memorable are people I never formally met.  They were located two cabins behind me, a family of five. It included an adolescent  son, an elementary school aged daughter and an infant.  The husband is cordial,  has tattoos and looks like he enjoys the time with weights.  The wife is medically skinny with very short hair which is sometimes covered with a ski cap. As we approached Chicago she sported a new wig.


Their chatter, disagreements and laughter is typical family stuff. They were traveling to  to visit family.  I don’t know where they boarded the train, they were already on when I boarded in Fort Worth.  My guess, they got on the train in Los Angeles.

Their morning ritual was not unlike other families and included the mom asking the son and daughter to get ready for the day.  Sometimes, repeating the desired tasking multiple times.  After a consecutive insistence, the son tapped his inner adolescence and decided to challenge the requests to brush his teeth.  The tension overflowed and got into areas that really had nothing to do with brushing teeth.  The son made some comment about is mom’s medical condition and the large number of pills she needs to take.  He commented how their family is really are putting a lot of hope in how those pills can change her per assumed fate. The mom share the need to give her body a two
week rest before resuming the regimen.  It was just enough time for the family to claim some kind of normalcy in the midst of the medical chaos.

The tone changed.  Silence fell. A short time later the son went to brush his teeth.


The rest of the time, was filled with typically family travel stuff with tears being prompted by fatigue and roller coaster anticipation of getting tho their destination.

While the family was engaged in a game, passing time before arriving in Chicago, the son with celebrated anticipation proclaimed “mom, your gonna win!”  Her response was “I just want to keep playing.”

Don’t we all.

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