I’ve tried several time today to take a decent picture of my progress on the Snake River Socks, but I’ve been unable to get decent light all day. Even at work, where I sit next to a window, the gloomy rain, rain, rain has turned my pictures to gray blobs. So you will have to take my word for it that I am up the ankles and on the home stretch. I’m very pleased with the heel. I ripped it out a couple of times before I came up with something that I like. You’ll have to take my word for it that it looks great.

I hate winter. Actually I just hate the gloom. If we could have a bright rain falling from blue skies, I wouldn’t mind at all.

Note that I don’t mind not having snow.

#1 Son, Bro, Sis-in-law, Neice Z and I all went out for dinner last night and then to Christmas With The Trail Band. It’s a holiday tradition for us. The Trail Band, founded by Marv & Rindy Ross (once of Quarterflash) are marvelous musicians and their show always includes wonderful guest performers. I love listening to selections from The Nutcracker performed on glockenspiel and hammered dulcimer (with help from others). One of my favorites this year was an arrangement of Baby, It’s Cold Outside featuring recorder and reed contrabass (think tuba only with keys and a much, much, much lower register). The alphorns were pretty cool, too. One of the performers, Cal Scott, told a story about riding the train during Christmas time.

It reminded me of my own riding the train story, which I offer to you, gentle reader, in lieu of knitting pictures.

I don’t remember what time of year it was. I was very young – maybe 4 or 5 at most. We were traveling by train to the magical world of Disneyland. We were my Mama and Dad, Bro, my cousin Margaret, and myself. Margaret is older than I and must have been about 15 or 16 then. She was along to help with the kids (that would be Bro and I). By train it was an overnight trip, so Mama and Dad had booked accomodations in a Pullman car. There was a really cool pull-down berth, as I recall. And a table the folded out from the wall. I was quite fascinated with it.

These were the days when dining cars were formal, and children of such tender age as Bro and I were not allowed. To this day I’m not sure whether that surprised my parents, or they had counted on it. At any rate, they left us in the compartment with Margaret while they dined in style, and then they brought our dinners back to us on trays.

The little table was unfolded and our dinner layed out, and I knew that I had gone to heaven because dinner included fruit salad. The canned type. And right on top was a whole half of a big maraschino cherry. Canned fruit salad was absolutely my favorite thing in the whole, wide world. I usually had to fight Bro for the cherry — but there was my very own. Right there on top! And not a little piece, either, but a whole half!

I lifted up my spoon to dig in…

The train went around a bend…

All of our dishes slid off the little folding table and on to the floor with a crash and a splash.

And that was the end of my fruit salad.

My parents called for the Porter and the mess was quickly cleaned up. But by the time they went back to the dining car, service was closed. They were gone a long time, or it seemed like a long time, because it took awhile to find someone who was willing to make a couple of sandwiches for hungry kids. We did eventually eat, but there was no more fruit salad to be had anywhere on the train. I was unconsolable. Even the adventure of getting to sleep in the really cool pull-down berth did not assuage my sadness. I mean… I didn’t even get to eat the cherry!

I remember nothing of Disneyland or of the journey back. But I remember watching my fruit salad slide off the table just like it was yesterday.

I do like to journey by train even today. But I hang on to my food now with a tenacity that probably surprises my fellow passengers.

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  • Thought of the Minute
    • True teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross; then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create their own.

      (Nikos Kazantzakis)
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