TESTING 'THE CURSE'
3 October 2005
My friend Mary is a lovely person, if you don't mind the curse. We've all known about Mary's curse for many years now but we'd never actually had to deal with it before.
You see, Mary can't ride a train without something terrible happening to it. She has a long history of train disasters (and since her husband doesn't like to fly, she's ridden a lot of trains). So when Ellen suggested that we go for a train ride on Saturday, we all knew that we were taking a big risk. But what the heck--what are friends for, right?
This being the group that it is, however, we couldn't let the weekend pass without visiting a book store, and so we all trooped into Borders after breakfast. My friend Michael had recommended the book, Lamb to me and, because I always do what Michael tells me to, I had bought the book, but I hadn't read it yet. I mentioned a couple of days ago that I was bringing it with me on this trip, and Sunshyn raved about it so much that after I'd finished reading Alan Alda's biography (great read, BTW), I started Lamb. Michael and Sunshyn were right. What a fun book! I raved about it so much that Mary, Ellen and Tricia went off looking for it in Borders and, of course, bought it..
Ellen figures we threw the bookeeping for Borders off by having three people in a row buy the same book.
When we had made our offerings to the gods of literature, we headed off for East Troy, Wisconsin, the home of the East Troy Electric Railwood Museum. We were going to Test the Curse. (We figured that since it was only an 11 mile round trip, we had a good chance of making it out alive, even with Mary along).
We bought our tickets, but decided to get lunch first, since Tricia was hungry, and Tricia, being a princess, had to be obeyed. Fortunately, we found the perfect restaurant for her.
Next it was back to the train, where we boarded the "Jolly Trolly," one of the older trains, made even more "picturesque" with its tattered, once-plush seats.
We had a lovely ride out to The Elegant Farmer, a farmers market famous for its home-baked (in a bag) apple pies, but also for lots of other goodies, like some of that good ol' Wisconsin cheese (even found some chocolate cheese, which I might have bought if I had a refrigerator back at the hotel room!). We wandered around, bought a couple of pieces of apple pie a la mode to share, sat on pumpkins and watched kids playing while across the street adults were lining up for hay rides.
(aside: what's so damn special about a hay ride? This was the back end of a truck, pulled by a tractor. You sat on bales of hay, which is definitely not comfortable, while they pulled you out into a freshly ploughed field. And they were lined up for miles for this experience! No thank you!)
At the appointed hour, we got back on the train and headed back to the station. Mary braced herself, waiting for what she felt would be the inevitable impact, but we returned in one piece proving that the curse may not be Mary's, but perhaps someone in her family. Hmmm....
We couldn't leave East Troy without visiting the old fashioned ice cream parlor, where, even though we were full of pie, we had to have our individual ice cream treats (I couldn't pass up a real, honest-to-goodness chocolate malt).
We had a bit of time when we got back to the hotel, which I used to write a journal entry, Walt used to nap, and Mary and Tricia used to take a walk (Ellen came on home). But then it was time for dinner and we went to a lovely place called The African Hut.
It was an interesting evening, as there were only four people working in the entire restaurant, so we had to wait for menus until another table was finished with them, wait for glasses until they washed some, wait for plates until they washed some. Fortunately, the waiter was a lot of fun and that helped. (And how can you be angry with a restaurant whose specialty is fufu?)
After dinner, it was back to the hotel yet again. I stopped off to check e-mail in the business center, but didn't do anything else much and went upstairs to bed. Unfortunately it was one of my "bad" hotel nights, so I didn't get a lot of sleep, but I sure dreamed a lot.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
this is a photo of Mary, taken on the train.I sure hope it's not too darkI know Mary would be very upset if I didn't post it