Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New York exit, mother-dog reunion

What the . . . ?

With my unbalanced, outdated, overweight luggage, I managed on Tuesday to get into Penn Station, on and off the escalator and onto the Amtrak train for New Haven. I did, however, have a moment of sheer panic.

As described in earlier posts, I packed too much for my long weekend in New York. The problem was also with my choice of luggage. My black suitcase on wheels might well have been among the first manufactured. It was my mother's and still has the red ribbon on it that she used for easy identification during baggage claim.

The wheels wobble, and to get the handle out, you have to push a little button and then pull hard. Also I never got a smaller matching bag that would fit nicely on top of the short end of the suitcase. I used an old nylon Tote bag often used to carry kids' toys or their towels when we went swimming. I hate to give up my mother's suitcase, but I need to upgrade, and I think she would understand.

When the train was called in Penn Station, I walked with the throngs as quickly as I could to the appropriate gate. I got on the escalator OK, but at the bottom, the suitcase tipped over and, like a stubborn dog, refused to budge. The orange Tote bag teetered. Oh, did I say I carried an extra jacket which by this time was dangling onto the stairs?

"Move on! Move on! Do not block the bottom of the escalator!" an Amtrak official shouted. He scared me into action, and with a big heave-ho, I got on the train.

Once on the train, after another heave-ho to get my suitcase into the overhead compartment, I collapsed into my seat, thinking that at least my arms must be getting stronger. Wanting to make sure I was on the right train, I asked the conductor, as he came through punching tickets, if this was the train to New Haven.

"It says so on your ticket," he said. "Would I punch it if you were on the wrong train?"

Geez. Remember those childrens' books with the friendly conductor?

I managed to get off the train and out of the New Haven station without incident. Jim had come to pick me up, and when he walked towards me and took my bags, all I could say was "Thank you, thank you, thank you." He looked like he didn't understand what the fuss was about.

I picked Maddie up yesterday morning at her second home at our friends the Blooms. She was happy to see me, and soon after we got home we went for a walk around the lake.

It was a nice afternoon, cool with plenty of sun. I let her off the leash and she dashed down to the water. I heard her splash around, and when she emerged back onto the path, her coat had patches of white, as though an impressionist painter had experimented with white on brown.

I had no idea what it was. It didn't smell, so I figured she hadn't rolled in anything gross. As we walked around, she took another dip. A little white came off. When we got home, the rest came off easily with a damp towel.

I removed her collar to wash it, and as I wrote this she was curled up asleep on the couch next to me like a little wild animal. They look so different with their collars off.

The luggage is in the closet.

I think I will stay put for a while.

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