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September 02, 2014
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View From the Train

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

The snow globe

Winter snow storms, like the one right after this past New Year, can turn the train ride into a snow globe. They were still cleaning the station platform when I pulled up for a late “snow day” train. Rather than take the day off, I wait for the plows to do my road and go in late. We prepare to leave the station when Conductor Eddy yells out his signature, “All aboard!” I get goosebumps of excitement as the doors close and we take off. The 6:55 is perfect on days like this and mainly for the ride alone; the sun won’t come up until around 7:30, so it’s still dawn’s early light.  Read more

Marine Christmas

The Marine was seated across the aisle from me, in one of the end seats with his gear on one side of the seat and his head down, writing holiday cards. Desert fatigues neatly pressed, haircut high and tight, black boots glistening from the polish.  Read more

Home for the holiday

This is the time of year when college students make their way home for the holiday break. The train was crowded when we pulled out of Secaucus Station, and I was comfortably seated by the window of a three-seater, sharing it with a guy from Middletown, NY. (We commuters see each other every day, and we rarely know each other’s names, just where we disembark.)  Read more

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