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December 20, 2014
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View From the Train

Things that go bump in the night

We set the clocks back this time of year, thrusting us back into the darkness of the morning. My morning has me out of the house before 5 a.m. each day. There is a different world outside my door at that hour, an eerie world of wildlife with night vision. Sometimes, I cringe when I hear the crunch of the leaves, not knowing what creature is out there in the dark. Sometimes, at the edge of the property, it’s just a pair of glowing eyes staring at me; or there are the screeches, howls and other things going on in the dark.  Read more

‘My dog ate my homework’ And other excuses

Fall brings the changing of the foliage to the Upper Delaware Valley. Along with the falling leaves come the “slippery rail” excuse for train delays. It seems, according to New Jersey Transit (NJT), a locomotive hauling seven train cars filled with passengers, can have issues with traction because of leaves falling on the rails. The condition is so serious that trains run at reduced speeds during this time of the year to gain traction on the rail. I asked a seasoned conductor if a train ever derailed because of this “slippery rail” condition. He said “Are you kidding?  Read more

Never too old to just listen to the music

During the last train ride up from the city together with my son, he commented, “I don’t know how you do this trip.” I tend to agree with him with the exception of what lies at the end of the ride besides my home and my hammock, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, the premier concert venue in the northeast. You see, I live a short 20-minute ride from there, and I love live music. Growing up in Brooklyn, there were many venues for concerts, yet I never had the money to go, or all I could afford was the “nosebleed” section.  Read more

Slipping into darkness

The first day of summer is a joyous time of the year, plans of long days, warm nights, fire flies, reading books in the hammock, building sand castles on the beach. All the plans of summer lie ahead and the excitement that goes with them, waiting to unfold. The commuter, however, as much he or she enjoys the beginning of summer, knows the joy will be short lived. Every day after the longest day of the year we lose eight minutes of sunshine. Every day comes closer to slipping back into the darkness. To the commuter this will mean eight months of dark mornings and even darker trips home.  Read more

Father’s Day

She responds to me with, “Oh… Daddy,” when I tell her how cute she looks in her PJs with her pig tails swinging down the hall. She is doing a quick skip as she leads me to the kitchen and can’t keep in the excitement of what she has prepared (with help from Mom). “Sit Daddy, sit,” she instructs, and like the good waitress she unfolds the paper-towel napkin she has held over her arm till now and places it on my lap. She is hopping in place with excitement. I can’t help but notice the smile, the rosy cheeks and the twinkle in those big brown eyes of hers.  Read more

Showing our colors

One of the joys in my commute is listening to a segment called “The Pledge” on Steve Andrew’s morning drive show on WSUS radio. Each day of the week a group of either first or second graders from local schools repeats the Pledge of Allegiance as it is recorded in their classroom. Personally, this brings me back to my own school upbringing where this was a daily occurrence for my first years of school.  Read more

If you call them, they will come

If you remember “Field of Dreams,” the iconic 1989 baseball film, Archibald “Doc” Graham had a choice to make. “Doc” was also known as “Moonlight” Graham in his baseball years, and although he played two innings of professional ball with the New York Giants, he never got to bat. This was the premise of the offer that Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) makes to “Doc” Graham (Burt Lancaster)—to play in his “field” on his Iowa corn farm and get a chance to bat with some Hall of Famer’s, including “Shoeless” Joe Jackson (Ray Loitta).  Read more

Puppy love

A doctor’s appointment has me on a late morning train. As fate would have it, Amtrak has other ideas for us this day. A stalled train in the tunnel to Penn Station has our train rerouted to Hoboken, NJ, causing us to take the PATH train from Hoboken in order to get to midtown 34th Street. Not the end of the world, only a slight inconvenience for me, but not everyone shares my optimism. It is obvious from the look on the faces of the two men seated across from me on the PATH train that this has ruined their day.  Read more

Meeting Annie

Lately, I realize I take a lot for granted: everyday things such as the warmth of a sunny day, the laughter of children and the first bloom of the forsythia indicating the birth of another spring. When I first met Annie, I was moving into the last car of the train and noticed she was the only one in the car. Strange for the car to be empty, I thought, I would have passed without a second notice except she spoke to me saying hello and asking if Harriman was next. She had a pleasant voice and was looking right at me, hard to ignore and just walk on.  Read more

A chance encounter

Valentine’s Day always brings a crowd on the train trying to get home early to loved ones. When it landed on Friday this year, the train was especially packed with travelers, flowers in hand, myself included. I grabbed the train north from Hoboken Terminal, and it being the first station, I got a two-for-one, not only a seat on what would be a crowed train, but also a chance encounter.  Read more

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