The Cardinal and the Cub Fan

I boarded my train, The Cardinal, at the Union Station in DC around 10:30 AM on a very rainy Wednesday morning. Most of my thoughts were with my students who I knew were at the ATF that morning without me. I hated to miss that tour, but I had to catch my train back to Chicago. I don't fly and it takes me longer to get home because of that. I left the kids with Mike Bradshaw who would get them through the ATF tour and also back on the bus to BWI and eventually home...what a guy!

Once on the Cardinal and settled into my sleeper car, I immediately made friends with the two women in the sleeper next to me. The one woman is retired military and her traveling companion is a massage therapist. I always meet the most interesting people on the train...every trip I look around for whom I think will be the most interesting characters and try to sit with them at dinner. This time was no exception. The man I chose to sit with was a representative of the National Rail Passenger lobby who was coming back from DC after meeting with legislators about increased and permanent funding for train travel. So we talked alot about trains, routes, new equipment and of course, politics.

The train rocked and rolled all the way through Virgina and West Virginia where we could still enjoy the majestic scenery of the New River lovely...every year I look forward to the Gorge and sitting in the club car glued to the window. This year I camped out with a seat in a four top table. I slid all the way into the window seat and was only there alone for a few seconds when three women swooped down on the table and asked if they could sit with me. They were from Cincinnati and were traveling home from New York City...two sisters and a daughter. They were alot of meet the nicest people on the train.

I spent a few hours gawking at the Gorge and then returned to my two new lady friends to get ready for dinner. They didn't know the drill on the train as this would be their first train we all headed down to the dining car. You know, the food on the train is remarkably good. We all ate a nice dinner and sat and chatted until the dining car porter ran us out to give our table to another party. We had sat and schmoozed for hours and didn't even realize what table hogs we had meet the most interesting people on the train...

We rocked and rolled all nite in our sleepers and were an hour and half late coming into Chicago...I told my friends to follow me down the platform into the Metro lounge so I could show them how to make their connection on the Empire Builder to Minneapolis. We exchanged email addresses...hugged goodbye and they were off in a few minutes to a family wedding.

My lay over in the Metro lounge was about 5 hours till the Zephyr took me down to Quincy. Ran into an old former nemesis (defense attorney) in the Club car...can't say I have missed him...but he actually told me he had missed me because he always looked forward to trying cases with me....I frankly was shocked hearing that...My husband met me at the train and Mickey, my dog, met me at the back gate.

Our trip to Washington was amazing. The kids were a congenial bunch and I was able to spend some time with all of them...which I enjoyed. My biggest surprise on this trip was Javan. I have had that student in class with me for the last two years and he has barely said two words to me. During this trip he was always around me helping me up and down because of my broken ankle. He and I had many, many good conversations and those will be excellent memories of this trip.
This is one of the many benefits of a Culver education. These students have the opportunity to experience unbelievable things in an educational setting and their professors get to experience them in a very different's a win/win all around...

I am happy to report that my ankle survived all the walking and all the steps up and down. Tuesday was a killer because I think we walked a million miles through Arlington National Cemetery, the big three monuments and then onto dinner. But, I survived....I can't wait until next year. A big thanks goes out to Professor Bradshaw, Trish Bradshaw and all the students who made this year's trip so memorable.