I was going to go up early. J is still feeling badly, but believes a doctor visit at this point would be of little value. She is trying to sleep while she has a DVD of I Love Lucy episodes playing in the background. Not wishing to hear the ossified jokes and agonize through the banal situations, staying down here where I can listen to the music (the best part of ILL) is the smart choice. I can put a DVD of old cigarette commercials in the downstairs machine and pretend I’m 8 years old again.
I will always associate these Lucy episodes with my recovery from back surgery. We played them almost every night, along with The Andy Griffith Show. Reading or other stuff was reserved for the day time. We did not have FIOS then. I can’t remember exactly what I was reading then, four years ago. Stefan Zweig, Djuna Barnes, Gertrude Stein., most likely.
I considered myself something of a sophisticate four years ago. Any modernist idea received a full and rather uncritical consideration and acceptance. So I would lap up a PBS presentation on modern art as if Picasso were the equivalent of Raphael or Giotto. It’s all art, right? And people pay good money for all of it. The modern world, I am afraid, is like Alice falling down the rabbit hole and wondering what happened to the truth. But that was how I thought then.
There will be one more passenger train passing through Ashland. #97 Southbound Silver Meteor, headed to Miami. One Winter’s night we will make the full journey. We will stay in an Art Deco hotel in South Beach and pretend 85 years of history never happened. No Hitler, no Bomb, no Castro. If only.
Right now, we have the yellow orange sodium lights reflecting off wet pavement and wet slate roof shingles. It is a static moment anticipating the dynamic conjoined chrome steel cars of the passenger train. The horn sounds. It won’t be long now. Less than a minute of speed, and a rush of sound, then stillness til morning and Northbound Silver Meteor #98 will work its way toward Manhattan, Penn Station, Times Square, The Empire State Building, Radio City, the Northetn artifacts of that hopeful time, now perhaps as anachronistic as the biplane, the Zeppelin, these very trains for which we wait.