I took a recent train trip to Utah and Idaho. I was headed to visit Jared and Ashley’s families . . . and meet a new baby. I had anticipated crossing Colorado, with its gorgeous scenic views. However, with the recent floods the train was rerouted through Wyoming from Denver. Isn’t that how life is, taking a different route, in family, work, school, you name it? We have to be flexible, or have a heart attack. Anyway, I met the most wonderful people on the train. I always do. Plus, when you book a sleeper, all of your meals are included and they are great. I hide myself in my little roomette, and read and sleep, for hours. I left out of Kansas City Amtrak Station at 7 a.m. The train backtracked taking me to Galesburg, Ill., to meet the westbound train, number 5. While in Galesburg, I had a four-hour layover, so I spent my time visiting Main Street and some quaint little stores. When I returned to the train station to wait for the California Zephyr, train number 5, I met an older couple who were traveling home to Santa Cruz, Calif. I was headed to Salt Lake. It was extremely enjoyable, getting to know this retired couple. Melinda, the wife, had worked in Fresno, where I birthed three of my children, Jared, Kelsey, and Kristin. Our paths had crossed, as Melinda had worked at Valley Children’s Hospital, where the twins were cared for. Even more surprising, was that her husband Lloyd, who drove an ambulance back in the 1970s, probably transported the twins (Kelsey and Kristin) to the Children’s Hospital NICU at their birth. It is a small world, isn’t it? Anyway, we boarded the train in Galesburg and headed west. A day later, before I left the train, I was able to enjoy dinner with Melinda and Lloyd. Lloyd seemed almost obsessed with whatever football game was playing. I also noticed that Lloyd had huge hands and a body to fit his hand size. In spite of the largeness of body and hands, Lloyd was as gentle as a teddy bear and smiled a lot. When I asked Lloyd why he liked football so much, Melinda quickly responded with “he played college and professional football.” Come to find out, Lloyd had played for USC and the L.A. Rams. He really LOVED football. Before I departed the train in Salt Lake, Melinda and I exchanged email addresses. I do expect to hear from her. When children live far from home with their children, it is a happy reunion when we get together. At the Salt Lake station, Jared was waiting for me with an empty van and open arms. I do miss Jared and his family. You might ask, why an empty van? I always transport Christmas gifts in my luggage. Jared took me to his new home, where I slept and waited until the next morning to hug my grandkids Allister and Fiona. I have much to do to split two weeks between two children, their spouses, and seven grandchildren. Well I better run, I have to board another transport to head to Idaho, where, hold onto your hat, the birth of another grandchild, number 13. Can’t wait for this one. Talk later!
Diane Mack is coordinator of Putting Families First, Jackson County’s Family Week Foundation. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.jacksoncountyfamilyweek.org.