“Nothing gives me as much pleasure as travelling. I love getting on trains and boats and planes.”

Yesterday was a perfect birthday. Waiting for me outside when I opened the door were mums from my dear friends Tony and Clare. What day doesn’t bring wonder when it starts with flowers? After that, the present which had been sitting where I could see it for a few days finally got opened. I loved it. My sisters called in the morning and one of them sang a bit. I had my usual Wednesday dinner with friends, and it was ribs, one of all time favorites. I got a cake, more presents and a rendition of Happy Birthday. The evening ended with a very funny play. My birthday continues with dinner tonight and tomorrow night! I love an endless celebration.

I have strange random thoughts bouncing around in my head today, and that’s what you’re going to get. It occurred to me that one of the changes over time is that men and women shake hands. When I was a kid, only men shook hands with each other. Women sometimes clasped each others’ hands, but they didn’t shake hands with men.

I don’t like hats all that much except at a baseball game in the sun, but strangely enough I look good in hats. I collect them, and I wear a few more for laughs than chic or fashion. My pink one is from the fifties. I should have a waist small enough for my hands to go around, tall heels with straps and a swanky dress when I wear it. It is hanging from the shelf right next to the fedora. They seemed the most natural pair.

Train travel is one of my favorite ways to get from one place to another, but I haven’t traveled by train in years. In Europe I have crossed the continent by train and gone from the coast of Finland to Lapland, and I got to sleep in a couchette. In South America I went a good portion of Ecuador on an auto-bus. Ghana used to have a great train system, and I usually traveled from Accra to Kumasi by train. Once I took the sleeper from Kumasi to Takoradi. On my yet to do list is to take a train to Colorado or as as close as I can get to visit my sister. I want to go across country with Ricky, Lucy, Ethel and Fred.

Houses should be built with porches. That way we get to wave at our neighbors and enjoy the swing. Every Sunday Andy, Aunt Bea and Barney sat on the porch after dinner. Aunt Bea rocked, Andy sang and Barney fell asleep. We lose touch with people when we stay hidden in the back on our decks. I do love my deck, but I also think I’d love a porch. After he retired, my dad used to sit on the front steps and drink his coffee during the nicer seasons. Everybody waved from cars and people wished him good morning when they walked by his house. That was his version of a porch.

When my sister was coming east from Colorado to visit, she never started the countdown until a week before her trip, but she came fairly often when the kids were young. I am not so patient. It has been forty years so I have started the countdown. Nine days to go!

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12 Comments on ““Nothing gives me as much pleasure as travelling. I love getting on trains and boats and planes.””

  1. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    Random thoughts are sometimes the best.
    Shaking hands with men always bothered me as a young woman because men no longer knew how to take a lady’s hand. They squished it in a power hand-shake as if they were greeting another male. Ouch! One time I decided I would extend my hand, palm down and hope that the man would “get” it. Well, the man in this case was a young German exchange student who delicately took my fingertips, bowed over my hand while clicking the heels of his Nike trainers together. So nice. Men don’t squish my fingers nowadays but neither do they bow over my hand. Ah, well.
    I have a front porch with chairs and I do sit out there sometimes. Mostly I sit on the front doorstep because the dog likes to be out on the sidewalk watching the neighborhood and hoping the little dog next door will come out and play with him. I see a lot of my neighbors now that I have a watching dog. 🙂
    Glad your birthday celebrations are continuing. The best birthday celebration is an on-going one. Keep it up!

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      How very neat! I need to find myself a German!

      I find men tend to be careful when shaking my hand. There is no male-male competition as to which grip is the strongest.

      Seldom do I sit out front. there are just the two steps into the house and Gracie is never with me. She wants to bark at every dog or person who walks by us.

      Dinner tonight was lovely and delicious!

  2. olof1 Says:

    Handshakes is only for those we really don´t know, now days we hug. macho men use a one arm hug though 🙂 🙂 🙂

    I´ve never owned a hat but I think I would like to have a beret one day, not a green one though 🙂

    I love to go by train but do it to seldom and I think it would be fun to drive route 66 one day, but most of all I would like to go up the Mississippi by steam boat.

    Yes, all houses should have a porch. This cottage had one before it was sort of included in the entrance hall, to bad!

    I´m glad You had a great birthday! and that it´ll continue for some time more 🙂

    Nova learned a painful lesson today, I had to update my blog because of that 🙂

    Have a great day!
    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      You’re right about the one arm hug. The other hand is usually clasped with the other guy’s hand. I have guy friends who hug. I like that.

      Route 66 is on my list as well. There are all sorts of web sites which lead you through what remains of the old route. I always think that would be a cool trip in a motor home.

      Poor Nova! I can only imagine how frightened she was , Nothing is more mournful than a dog in pain. I’m glad the treats and your loving gave her comfort.

      One more birthday night to come!

  3. john Says:

    Would you believe, the entire 3 years I worked for the Illinois Central Railroad, I never rode a train? The first train trip I ever had, save for a kindergarten excursion and the ¼ scale train at Kiddieland, was to the Induction Center in Chicago for my draft physical. Not the greatest introduction to the joys of rail travel, by any means. Since then, and the ride home when I got my discharge, I’ve only ridden in Panama, Sweden, Denmark & Norway. Tourist trains don’t count.
    Panama was a wonderful coast to coast journey in a little less than an hour sidling the Canal’s edges. The jungle on one side of the rails and the ditch on the other. Sweden and Denmark’s trains were swift, quiet, and comfortable. And, with that wonderful Nordic efficiency, always on schedule. Norway’s were the same but… Sandy & I have an inside joke – whenever we’re driving and we look out the car window at an exceptionally beautiful scenic sight, we yell “Tunnel”. On our trip from Oslo to Bergen it would seem that each time a “Kodak Moment” would appear, we’d enter a long, dark tunnel. Still, the sights we did see were beyond beautiful.
    Our town’s a mere 90 miles from Chicago, and the 2nd/3rd largest city in IL, and yet we still have no commuter or Amtrak service. The best we can do is take a 45min drive to the nearest depot for a 2 hour milk run into Chi. Or,,,,, drive the whole way 90min.

    We’ve a front porch that’s little more than a stoop and the traffic on our front street’s a bit too noisy to enjoy a sit down. Our thoughts are, if someone rings the front bell, we don’t know ’em.
    Now, our back porch is great! We live on a corner so the porch/deck is exposed to the side street and is elevated about 8 feet above the street level. We overlook the whole block literally, and figuratively. This year I installed outdoor speakers, connected them to the main sound system and have been using them quite often. Sitting on the glider, listening to a few tunes, and watching the working world go by. No noise complaints from the neighbors. But, you must understand, I’ve exceptional taste in music.

    • katry Says:

      John,
      The US missed it by not keeping the rail system alive and growing. Riding the train is just so neat. I love looking in the windows while traveling at night. It see,s I am connected to all the people I see. In my poorer days, I’d travel by night train to save on hotels. I learned to sleep easily with the click clack of the train as company.

      My deck is off the back of the house which happens to be the second floor. I have an above ground cellar so the deck is high in the trees. It makes me feel as if I’m in a tree house.

      I think traveling in Panama would be great. You see so much from a train (except for your tunnels; I’m still chuckling.)

  4. Zoey & Me Says:

    Who wouldn’t have wanted to cross the US with Lucy? I remember following that series weekly. My last train ride was getting my Dad’s new Saab down from VA by Amtrak, the overnight, with the car on it and arriving the next day close to Orlando. He was so happy to get the car. His friend got him a deal but he had to drive it down and he wasn’t up to it. I loved that trip down as we hung out at the bar and sang Irish songs till it closed down. What a train ride. You meet the most neighborly folks similar the ones waving at your Dad on the porch.

    • katry Says:

      Z&Me,
      I know. Those were great programs with Lucy on the sleeper with the jewel thief and her constant pulling of the stop the train cord.

      I can’t even remember the last train ride I was on-maybe somewhere in Europe, but for the life of me I forget which country.

  5. Bob Says:

    The newer planned communities that are being built in many American suburban and in some urban areas contain homes that have porches. As a kid in NYC the houses all had stoops. A stoop is the stairs that lead from the sidewalk to the front door. Everyone sat out on their stoops in the evenings during warm months and conversed and eat ice cream cones. Since most of the tract developments were designed as individual ranch style homes, they had no porches and no one really knows their neighbors. The porches are to try to get people to know their neighbors according to the developers of these communities. What a concept! Most of us live in little boxes, that are made of ticky tacky and have lives just like the song. The legacy of the post war years in suburban USA.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_2lGkEU4Xs

    I only rode on an intercity train when I was a kid in 1957 or so. We traveled from Dallas to New York City and return in a Pullman sleeper car. The trip took two nights and a day. I remember that we went on the Missouri, Kansas, Texas railroad, The Katy Line, to St. Louis and then our car was transferred to the Pennsylvania railroad for the trip into Penn Station in NY. It was fun for a short while and then became very boring. The Pullman porters were all middle aged African American men who would shine your shoes during the night and make up the beds and the sofas during the day. The saddest part of the trip was to see the old run down non air conditioned coaches that the black people were forced to travel in until we reached St. Louis. The porters and the separate cars were the legacy of segregation in the South. I would never travel by train again. Dallas to NY, three hours and thirty minutes in a nice Boeing 737,

    I am in agreement with you on the value of hats. I never wear one except a baseball cap to go to a ballgame. Fortunately, I still have a fairly full head of hair and don’t need to keep the sun off my scalp. I do have a nice collection of Baseball caps from the 1970s stuffed into a plastic bag in a closet. Occasionally I take them out and remember the good old days when pitchers batted in the American League.

    Enjoy the rest of your birthday celebration.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      The city houses all had stoops. Mine, in a smallish town, just had front steps-no personality at all. I’m happy to hear that porches are back in style. There is a new house not far from here which does have a porch but it is the only one I’ve seen. I never see anyone on it but it has a couple of rockers. They look darn inviting to me.

      I love that Malvina Reynold’s song. I have played it here but not in a long while. I can remember pictures of all those tract houses, row upon row, all looking alike with no personality. They were in the 50’s the American dream, owning your own house. That it looked like all the others was no never mind.

      • Bob Says:

        An elderly couple lived in an old big house with a porch that went all the way around the house. The husband wanted to paint the porch but it was too much work for him. He decides to ask the young woman who lives next door if she wanted the job of painting the porch. She was out of work and had asked him if he had any odd jobs that she could do to earn some money. They agreed on a price of $200 and he gave her several cans of green paint which matched the house, brushes and paint thinner. He went inside and told his wife what a great deal he made with the neighbor to paint the porch. His wife asked him if that was too big a job for the young woman.

        An hour later the young woman came to the door and said that she was finished. He told her that he was amazed that she could paint the entire porch in an hour. She replied that she even had enough paint to give it two coats. The man gladly paid her the $200. As she was leaving she said to the man, “bye the way it’s not a porch, it’s a Lexus”.

  6. katry Says:

    I’m laughing here!!!


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