The last week of ‘08, our days were full of The Wonderful.
A Trip to Delightful
My First Wife and I enjoyed the best trip we’ve ever taken—a train ride from The Big City to Chicago and back. Within five minutes of our departure we decided we want to do this again. We heartily recommend that everyone consider a trip to Delightful, via Amtrak.
Why? No stress whatsoever. No traffic, no traffic cops, no other drivers to worry about. None of the jammed up airports; no seat belts, and you'll never believe how much leg room they give you! Don't worry about the weather, take a nice little snooze in the middle of the trip. Enjoy your meals in the dining car; meet new friends; no worries about lunch, gas or road conditions; enjoy the scenery and a glass of wine in the Observation Car (or play table games with those new friends); take a walk from car to car; go downstairs to the little convenience store and get a snack. While you’re down there, waddle over to your luggage and get something.
Our return trip was just as much fun. After dark there was no countryside to see, of course, except that when we passed through the charming little Midwestern towns, Christmas lights still twinkled. You don't see that from the sky.
Oh, and My First Wife says it’s quite romantic, too.
The Romantic and Restful Observation Deck
Chicago and the Four Seasons
Not the hotel chain, the weather. We saw it all in just four days on our first-ever visit to Chicago. Friday we saw ice an inch thick with snow and unreasonable cold. Then on Saturday, black fog, brutal wind, horizontal rain and 40 degrees. At least it melted all the snow and cleared the streets. Sunday was like spring. A real bright, warm, dry and colorful day.
Ruth and Arnie Got Married
My Sister Ruth married Arnie on Saturday afternoon. What a great day for both our families! Ruth was single for over twenty years. Arnie lost his first wife a few years ago. The two met in church and I think the whole congregation showed up for the wedding—despite the vicious rain and unreasonable cold. The joint was packed. It was a great and happy celebration under the warm umbrella of God’s Great Blessing.
They had a fun wedding, which began this way: “Play ball!” (They’re baseball fans.)
Later, the preacher asked, “Who gives this Grandmother to be married?” [Howling laughter] Ruth’s two grandchildren raised their hands and said, “We do!”
“And who gives this Grandfather to be married?” [More laughter] Arnie’s grandchildren raised their hands and said, “We do!”
When it was all over, someone played the first few words of the “Hallelujah Chorus!” [Riotous laughter and applause!]
The bride and groom with the bride's two brothers (me and Neal).
We clean up pretty good, huh?
My First Wife sang As For Me and My House, We Will Serve the Lord. She's real good.
A Day with Eight Grandkids
Back home on Tuesday, eight of our grandkids and their parents met us at our favorite Mexican restaurant and we messed up the place for two hours. Hugs and tacos; huevos and laughter; different booths and different laps; fun, fajitas and photos. Then a trip to the mall for all the unbounded running around you can wish for.
We finally exchanged Christmas gifts with all our kids/grandkids at our daughter’s house (in Missouri)—laughing all the way.
There's something wonderful about joy, isn't there?
There’s a Little Boy in All of Us
Union Station in The Big City features model trains at this time of the year. I’ve been wanting to take my grandkids to see them for several years. Finally…!
My First Wife and I strongly recommend that everyone consider a visit to see these fascinating trains. There are dozens of them to take you on Delightful trips to Nostalgia. Honestly, I could stay there all day just watching them. I took more than 100 pictures that afternoon. I wish I could display them all.
I told you: "There's a little boy in all of us."
The End of the Year
All our kids left on December 31, leaving us alone to do some housecleaning and a little shopping. Otherwise, the year ended uneventfully. We went to bed early. So with visions of sugar plums (and grandkids) dancing in our heads, we never knew when 2009 began.
A Happy New Year to everyone! Wishing you a year of Delightful and Wonderful.
And meet our Conductor on My Hats Blog.