There were thoughts as too whether or not I would catch this Spirit of New Orleans train. There was the flight this morning from New York: up and moving towards the airport since 4:30, local time. The cabbie who couldn't find Grand Central Station so we could catch our connecting bus, and then, even early traffic slowing things down a minute here, a minute there. I am here, seated next to a gentleman in his late 70s, complete with his wide-eyed "Opie" face and Harley Davidson leather jacket. He talks of days past and how he loved to ride the trains, and the sunshine he will miss as he heads back north. I am grateful for an amicable seatmate. One trip involved a belligerent drunk, who was forcibly removed at our first stop.
For me, I am stiff and weary. It has been a great trip and folks are eager for my return. Eager to see their shining faces: I want to hear all the news of their adventures and share my stories as well. This trip changed me, in large part because I came to understand that I can truly be at home anywhere and, with a little care and planning, navigate my way around even the largest of cities. My travel buddy, K, is always a treat to journey with: we enjoy each other's company, yet give ourselves lots of space to do what we enjoy, not always having to be in the same space at the same time. She laughed as she dropped me off at the train station...we were in the middle of some happy, earnest conversation, all the while trying not to get lost in the bowels of New Orleans' swirling, chaotic streets. That conversation will probably be resumed via phone or email in the days to come. Or not. We might forget it entirely and move on to the next bright topic. It has been a very long time since I have had a female best friend. What a gift that kind of friendship is.
While travelling, one of our family's friends died of ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). Tony was a sparkly-eyed, witty barber who always had a smile for everyone. My plan the last few weeks had been to visit him and tell him one of my only jokes, but life got busy and I didn't make that visit a priority. And that was a mistake. A mistake to assume there would be plenty of time, once I got home. To always think there was no shortage of time. Too late now for me to ask him if he knew who the shortest man in history was?
The train is pulling away from the station, now. It is time. Time to go home.