Tag Archive: Train

It was a strange afternoon.  We drove down to visit Erick’s aunt and uncle in Columbia and enjoyed some time in the country talking about the future of energy and transportation in America.  The countryside was quiet without a single train passing until the very last moment, when we were about to leave and we heard the loud, long horn off in the distance.  I jumped off the porch, leading the pack of train-happy folk, down the narrow gravel road where Celli leapt ahead of me, tongue a flyin’ and hell-bent on scaring off whatever it was we were all chasing and woo-hooing about.  Suddenly, I became aware of a more immediate and urgent chase as my beagle was heading full-speed in the direction of a blind corner where the 200-ton engine was approaching at full speed.  

I called after her, but the engine roared and its horn blared and I could only see Celli’s mouth moving as she barked in cadence with her every step.  As the train emerged out of the woods she crossed one set of tracks and met it full on coming within in a few inches of the massive steel wheels.  I stopped and turned away; a sob caught in my throat.  I thought she was gone.  When I looked again, she was running away from the tracks and over to the road where I stood.  I scooped up her frame and sat down forgetting the enormous freight passing.  

Erick and his uncle informed me that as Celli reached the train, where the low oil tankers were passing, the larger box cars following emerged from the shadows and startled her in time to stop her from biting the wheel.  I’ve never been so grateful for boxcars in my life.  I love this beagle.

We had only been driving a few minutes on the interstate when I felt something akin to a bee-sting along my spine – right in the middle of my back where my reach was clumsy.  “Erick I think there’s a bee in my dress,” I said calmly; assuming it wouldn’t get any worse.  I was wrong.  A few minutes later, the lone and very pissy hornet was making cross-stitch patterns all the way down my back and my butt.  Erick pulled over and I jumped out of the truck doing a little dance as I tried frantically to find the angry little hornet.  I found him as he stung me one last time and flew off into the cab, where Erick smacked him off Celli’s head and smushed him under his shoe.  

The pain has subsided for the most part, but the image still stuck in my head is of that scene from Nothing to Lose where Tim Robbins leaps out of the car with the gigantic spider on his back and does that dance.  You know the dance.


Erick joined us right before the march began and the whole family (including Celli Belle) walked to raise money for research to beat cancer.  We met so many nice people and beautiful pups.  There must have been over a hundred dogs and their families.  Along the walk, there were water bowls and wading pools.  The police escorted the march, so we were able to spread out across the street and it was then you could see just how many people were out early in the morning heat in support of a cure.  Warm fuzzies all over.

Later, Erick, the girls and I walked down to the festivities in Uptown.  We saw the Calypso Tumblers performing on the street – VERY cool and wild.  I hadn’t heard of them until yesterday, but they’re amazing stage performers.  We watched them jump over a line of people about 10 deep.  Crazy stuff.

After a few hours in Uptown Erick and I thought it might be fun to take the train down to Pineville, so we purchased day passes and hopped the train.  We had to stand the entire 20-minute ride, which at 70mph, was pretty exciting and when we arrived in Pineville the temperature had soared to 100 degrees, so we were pretty slow-moving, but nonetheless determined to have a good time.  We meandered through shops and enjoyed milkshakes and a lot of water before boarding the train for home.  And this is when things got strange again.

I’ve mentioned openly before seeing “ghosts,” but I haven’t had the pleasure while here in Charlotte to see much other than the overriding face of fast-paced life all around.  Maybe it was because I was more relaxed than usual, having found a seat for the ride home; or perhaps I was suffering from a heat-stroke induced hallucination, but regardless, yesterday I saw my first “ghost” in Charlotte.  

I heard a boy laugh and I turned my head in time to see a little boy, about nine-years-old, approaching my girls.  He wanted to engage them, but clearly they couldn’t see him.  He faded out, but I remember him clearly.  He was black, wearing a little-league uniform with the colors green and yellow.  The cap had a lot of yellow on the front and he showed me a ball – the ball also had a lot of yellow.  He was connected somehow to a man seated behind me and I got the feeling he was someone’s brother.  I didn’t get the feeling of grief that might accompany a parent losing a child, but rather one that might accompany someone losing a peer.  I also felt like his passing was sudden – so accident or sudden death by other means – not a drawn-out illness.  I also felt like his death happened some time ago – more than 10 years.  

Those were the feelings that accompanied the vision.  I’m sharing the experience here for future reference.

As I have mentioned in the past, it is my belief that these visions may be a glimpse of someone else’s projected thought.  The strange thing was I saw the boy before the man connected to the boy got on the train.  


As a thick fog settled over the city, I packed up my camera and the girls and caught a train to Trade St. I wanted to discover what the Bank of America building looked like fading into the clouds.


On my our way, we saw some really neat buildings whose curves and contours blended as well into the cityscape as the bank tower blended into the fog.


And at Founders Hall we visited the museum and were fortunate to see some very important documents, signed by some very important people. Besides the fog, I wanted to take the girls to the bookstore. There, my youngest made a new friend, a giraffe she calls “Flower Rose.” It was there I picked up the first in a newer series of children’s books about the adventures of a tiny Siamese kitten known to his mother as Skippyjon Jones. It now comes officially highly recommended by yours truly.



Following our bookstore adventure, we walked to Wachovia to meet Erick for lunch. Erick suggested, over the phone, we take the skyway to the Atrium, to the Overstreet Mall, to Wachovia Two… Or something like that.

I wouldn’t be able to tell you how to get there, but I can always get myself there. I love the adventure of going building to building through a maze of escalators, corridors, skyways, and parking garages just to avoid being drenched in a sudden rainfall. What might have amounted to less than a block of walking, quadruples in length, but is made up for in entertainment. Lunch was good, btw.


On the way home, we were caught in a rainstorm, but the train waited and we made it home before the sudden showers could soak through our clothes. (Don’t the gals look happy?!)


More photos

Erick took the girls for a train-ride last night. Celli and I met them at the station and we all walked home together. Celli isn’t sure about the train, we like it. It’s sleek. And we even saw the stars. Not like up north

Where our apartment lacks in space, our kitchen feels enormous. There’s a granite bar at the center and it has inspired me to cook. Last night (after my discovery of the Economist Market) I made a recipe Liz and Christy prepared for us before we left. It’s an Asian dish and my first, but it turned out well.  I also made an amazing chocolate tart for Erick’s V-Day gift.  SOOOOO  GOOD.  Another of Liz’s famous recipes!   The omelettes this morning was very photogenic, so I’m posting here.


We’re heading out in a bit to meet Erick at the Third St. Station to have lunch in Uptown. I’ll bring my camera!