This past week I took a trip that was pretty much the four-day equivalent of my Sunday drives. I saw a lot, thought a lot, and didn’t do much at all. Unlike my Sunday rambles, however, this trip involved a couple of Bed&Breakfasts… and the train.
Really, the train was the whole point of the trip. I just stayed at the B&Bs for food and shelter until I could get back on the train.
Before I left home, Gamerboy handed me a plastic Easter egg. This isn’t just any egg — this one is named Snort McEggerdam and has accompanied DJ on business trips before. I promised that Mr. McEggerdam and I would have a good trip, and to prove it I texted back several pictures of what a good time he was having.
Following, then, is my Train Escape… as experienced by myself and a yellow plastic egg.
Day 1: Tuesday evening
McEgg and I both approved of the accommodations. This was the evening that I went out to eat and reported on Facebook:
I ate supper at a restaurant tonight, and noticed a table nearby set for a large group. As I was finishing, the group started to arrive: three or four women, all about age 50, middle-class and conservatively dressed. They greeted one another and sat down to chat.
“So,” said one, “did Nancy tell you about our strip party?”
“Yes! I am so excited!” another exclaimed. They chattered on a while about“creativity” and “wanting it to tell my own story.”
You think I’m making it up, right? No, you’re waiting for the rest of the story. Okay, fine, I figured it out soon enough. They were quilters. They apparently collected strips of fabric to make into a quilt.
But it puts a whole new twist on the idea of a strip club.
Day 2, Wednesday
McEgg struck up a conversation with some distant relatives. McEgg threw around the idea of applying for the job of centerpiece in this beautiful historic home, but the chicken pointed out that she was there first.
(That was a joke.)
On to the train station!
I love the train because you’ve got acres of leg room compared to an airplane. After they come by and check your ticket, everybody just leaves you alone until your station comes up. I sat back and watched the miles roll past. I’d jot down sights occasionally, like the abandoned mill that looked like a massive deactivated robot staring over the treetops.
Sometimes my phone had a good signal, sometimes it didn’t, so I could text and chat when I wanted to but wasn’t locked into a conversation. In fact, from the time I left home at 4:00 Tuesday, until I got to the station Wednesday evening, I probably had a total of two hours’ person-to-person conversation. It was an introvert’s dream.
Day 3, Thursday
I stayed at this B&B last year, and there are two things I remember best. The first is the front porch, which is fully 10 feet wide and 30 feet long. We ate breakfast on one end of the porch, and on the other end was a cushioned swing with a handmade quilt tossed over the back. (I wonder if it was a strip-club quilt?) I could live on a porch like that.
The second memorable feature is the Fairy Castle in the front yard. In some generation past, somebody built this stone castle for the little girl of the family. It’s about five feet tall and solid enough to withstand the zombie apocalypse. It’s not beautiful or graceful, but you can’t argue that it’s a presence.
I ate my meals at a restaurant called The Mason Jar. That’s what they served their drinks in, mason jars. The tea is sweet enough to kill you, and that’s coming from a Mississippian born and bred.
Across the road was a junk shop called This & That. It should have been called This & That & Also Some of This & I Probably Have That on a Back Shelf & To Tell The Truth There’s So Much Stuff In Here I Could Be Hiding a Dead Body & Nobody Would Know.
I wound my way through the shelves, jotting down every new type of item I saw. From stuffed animals to jars of marbles to tableware to novelty teapots to rusty old tools to decorative plates hung four rows deep across three walls… My hand got tired after only 200 items. He could have sold knick-knacks alone by the half-ton.
I bought a wooden pastry cutter, two stuffed animals, a bell-shaped glass insulator, a wooden box, and a pocketknife before I found the front door again.
Day 4, Friday
McEggerdam begged me to set up some pictures with the castle to make Gamerboy laugh. Don’t blame me if they’re not really funny. It was his idea, not mine.
I’m barefoot because I took a walk along the back streets of the town, which I really liked until I rubbed a blister on my heel.
About noon, we boarded the train again (I wearing a band-aid and my shoes again). It was a long trip back, through both the rolling countryside and the backside of towns.
Meanwhile back at the Jones Home, DJ fed and entertained and kept order among four kids, plus got some much-needed organizational stuff done around the house, plus greeted me with a supper of rosemary tenderloin with apples and sweet potatoes.
The Train Escape was a much-needed sabbatical, but it was good to be home again. Until next year’s escape.