THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS
Just like the title and the picture show, I did ride The City of New Orleans Amtrak from Memphis to New Orleans yesterday. I did ride it once before about 6 1/2 years ago but this was all for a different reason and even though I was not sure of it all this time...everyone who made it happen was exactly right. I did need a change of scenery and a place after Steve's Life Celebration to help get myself back together. (as much as that is possible)
I am so blessed to have children who help to guide me and whether you as a reader wish to believe this or not - Steve was a huge part of this decision. Every major decision that I have had to make since October 21st, he has guided me. He has given me signals that I was doing the right thing or let me know that maybe I need to rethink that decision. Good thing that I am not too hard-headed and that I do listen.
Managing to get through Thanksgiving without Steve was hard enough. Thank goodness for Jenni and Thomas for cooking. I offered to take all five of us out for a great Thanksgiving afternoon meal at a very fine restaurant. All I knew was that I just could not even think about cooking any of the actual meal. Too soon for that. Steve and I always did that together starting with the early preparations the day or two before and he always did his famous British roast potatoes. Jenni always did a couple of side dishes and dessert in previous years.
I left it up to the children to decide and they chose to cook it themselves and they did a spectacular job. Some of the traditional things that we had before as well as some new side items. Thanks to Corky's for having a fully cooked ham and turkey for us. All they needed to do was to pick it up the day before and heat if they wanted to. It made me smile to see Thomas with his apron on, just like his Dad wore when he cooked, and measuring out the recipe ingredients. They worked so well together.
We had a very special Thanksgiving meal. Hooray for my family making it so special. Next hurdle to cover is December 6th - 11th. Steve's birthday and mine. We had started a tradition of going to The Peabody for their special High Tea celebration. It may fall on his birthday or mine or somewhere in between. It was our special gift to one another.
This year we had already made our High Tea reservations early in November, which fell on my birthday. We had planned on taking our eldest granddaughter. So a reservation was already made for two adults and one child. A brilliant idea came to my mind (even if I do say so myself). Jenni could replace the other adult, we already had Bailey for one child. All I needed to do was to call and add one more child (Skylar) to the reservation. They made this accommodation gladly. So all 4 of us will be there on my birthday just as I stated in my last blog. A special way to get through our birthdays. Another way of 'Moving On.'
That left Steve's birthday. Jenni talked it over with Doug and others and decided that it would be a good idea to get away and what a better place to be on Steve's birthday but in New Orleans with Doug, Lizzie and Emma and Hazel. There is nothing like children, especially your grandchildren to uplift you. Their giggles, their stories, their smiles, their sense of style...the list goes on and on.
At first, I was not so keen on the idea of traveling away. I loved the idea of seeing the Brownies but not so much the train ride, as I remembered the long walk to get to the car that I was on and then the staircase to the upper level to get to the sleeper car. Not that I was going to need to sleep overnight, more for the privacy vs. the coach cars. But the walking, carrying my bag to take on the train plus my purse and then managing luggage and my knees did worry me. Jenni got it set up so that Amtrak would help me and if not Craig would in Memphis and Doug would in New Orleans.
The more that I thought about it and checking out events/appts on my calendar, I did find a week that worked out. Jenni called and managed to get me all set up for the trip. This took care of his birthday and I could feel his joy all around me for making this decision to ride the train down to New Orleans to be with The Brownies over his birthday.
Just as the lyrics from Arlo Guthrie's song The City of New Orleans say: "Good morning, America, how are you?" I had to set my alarm for 3:30 AM to leave the house at 4:40 in order to be down at the train station by 5:40. It truly was a southbound odyssey as we rolled past houses, farms and fields, plus graveyards of rusted automobiles and other trains zooming by us that had no name. Yes, I will be one almost 500 miles when the day is done. (350) No matter the miles it is something about the rhythm of the rails and the gentle beat of the magic carpets made of steel.
The night before I left we decorated the Christmas tree and got the stockings hung and decorations out. It felt so good to watch and be a part of this family festive event before I left.
Once I arrived to The Brownies home, they had decorations everywhere also. So a continued holiday celebration.
Taking advantage of the quiet now and writing this blog. On December 6th we will raise a glass of champagne to say, "CHEERS" to the love of my life! Happy Birthday and please always stay near me. You will always be in my heart and soul and I know that you know just how much I need to hear and feel you all around me.
Lots of activity while here in New Orleans and it is fabulous to be here with The Brownies. I even had a welcoming sign on my bed for me.