Shouting, bad words, and guilt....

Once I had small children and I did not censor what came out of my mouth. One day as I was talking to my brother on the phone (he also uncensors his words to this day),he heard me shout some epithets to the fighting preteens. I am ashamed to admit it, but it was not the way a mother should speak to her children, no matter how stressed she may be.

What came out of my brother's mouth at that time astounded and made me blush with chagrin. Had I sunk to that low level calling my precious three naughty things? What would I have done if they had done that to me?

Fast forward to high school. You'd think that having a mom with a potty mouth would have encouraged them to use foul language as well. I can promise you that I did not hear that come from their mouths. Now, as grown men with families of their own, I do know that two do swear. The one either hides it well or does not use foul language. What have I set as an example for them? I cringe. All I can do is apologize to them and pray they realize the effects of angry words on small children. And I can pray and hope for forgiveness...

Amtrak Adventure

By Evelyn Celli as told to her sister somewhat….

I can still hear the resounding, “It’s gonna be an adventure!” as my sister tried to assure me that our planned trip to California to see our brother was not only gonna be fun, but something out of the ordinary for us. We sisters usually haven’t had adventures outside the confines of either of our homes. So this was gonna be a first for me.

The second omen other than my heart beating rapidly and a sense of foreboding was when the train arrived at the Salem station and as we began to board and hunt for a seat in the lower level, a smart mouthed and very weary car attendant crisply noted we had to walk upstairs. Our self printed tickets did not say lower level, yet they did indicate “disabled.”

Was I to climb those circular small stairs leading to the top of a submarine or something? Was she kidding? With my bad knees, hurt back, and weight, not to mention my suitcase needing to accompany me. . . .the beginning of a nightmarish tour rather than an adventure. . . . or maybe an adventure into hell?

The attendant herded two other women who were obviously in need of remaining in the lower level as well – the one was crying as she climbed the stairs wailing, “I have gout. I can’t do this!” The attendant retorted loudly, “Well, I got gout, too. Ain’t it horrible?” Uh, maybe that attendant needed another job – her supply of empathy, not to mention, customer service was a bit lacking. I’m being nice as I write this, but at that moment I was wailing, too, and not caring who heard….

Upon finding our seats we also found someone sitting in them! Uh, these are our seats, my adventurous sister almost shouted. The woman whose girth equaled my sister’s and mine looked scared. We were not to be fooled with at this point. My sister gazed about and found an empty seat, asked the obese gentleman sitting there if that was anyone’s and he said no – “GO! Sit there,” my sister politely demanded….and we sat down. Sister moved the luggage two seats behind right by the door. “But, my stuff….” Her look shut me down. After wiggling and squirming, she finally settled in, but I was not to find peace….

A light bulb almost exploded in my head: if I don’t get some sleep and if my adventurous sister doesn’t get any, we are going to truly enter the abode of hell. So I lay my blanket down on the floor and tell sister to spread out on the two seats. And we try to get some semblance of sleep.

Not that lying on the floor is a good thing – my back could not stand sitting up or almost sitting up all night. I had to lie flat. What to do about my feet? Everyone should be sleeping, right? So, my feet stuck out a few inches into the walkway and boy, did everyone have to go through our car to wherever they were going? Was it a parade? After about 20 steps on my feet and about 4 hours of trying to sleep, I escaped back to the seats once more. Sister moved over and let me in and then the barrage of talk began. Right behind us sat Maybelle and her hubby, Ralph. Oh, my goodness, we learned more than we ever wanted to learn about Maybelle and her family.

“Are we near Chenault? Ralph, dear, are we? I can’t find my phone and it’s ringing. Where is it? Hello? Hello? We are on the train. Yes, we are on the train now. We are going to Chenault. I’m not sure where that is. Ralph, do you know how far Chenault is?”

Groans from us. Picture the following conversation in a very loud, old lady voice:

“Oh, Ralph, the phone is ringing again. I can’t find it. Where DID I put it? Hello? Yes, we are on the train. On the train. Yes, on the train. Going to Chenault. I don’t know how far away it is, but Dad might know…”

On and on. Droning stories about the trains and Chenault and rings and phones and after two hours of this I felt like slapping Maybelle and telling her to shut up and go to sleep. My sister sat there smugly ‘cause she thought it was funny. It was when she started to talk just like Maybelle.

“Uh, Ev-uh-lin, where is Chenault? Do YOU know where it is? Oh, my!”

She was delirious and I had to stifle a snicker as she continued her harangue. By now Chenault was the stop. Maybelle and Ralph got off with a huff at us and smiles at the others on the train. We began to munch on the goodies sister had thoughtfully packed before our adventure. Munching on fruit, sipping apple juice, and eating our fried chicken, we settled down for the remainder of the trip.

Oh, why didn’t we get a sleeping car going to Sac? Well, I’m not gonna go there, but believe me, first they didn’t have a room. Then they did. Then the Amtrak office said the conductor had to sell the room. Then she said she didn’t have a phone. They said she was wrong. She said she had no room. They said she did. She said they didn’t. That was interwoven through Maybelle’s diatribe about Chenault….

Bathroom stops? Nope! After fourteen hours on the train we ate at a fast food place when our brother picked us up and slept all day at his house. Yep, it was an adventure and I worried about the return trip. Sister promised it was gonna be different ‘cause she got us a sleeping car. Yes, they had one and, yes, they sold it to her, and, yes, it said sleeping car on our tickets. So much for adventures. Let the fun begin.