For President’s Day Weekend

For President’s Day Weekend

To end a day of museums, I stopped by the Lincoln Memorial and read Lincoln’s 2nd Inaugural address – it is inscribed on the north chamber wall of the Lincoln Memorial.

I couldn’t help but shed a small tear when I read it. I would like read it -spoken word poetry style- some where, some day.

Are pics I took yesterday – Lincoln & Washington Memorials – are attached,

also:

A link to the speech is pasted below for your reading pleasure

https://www.nps.gov/linc/learn/historyculture/lincoln-second-inaugural.htm

Part VII – What a Wackadoodle!

Part VII – “What a Wackadoodle”

From the Business Travel Log

It’s the largest bay window I’ve ever seen. Twenty-five feet tall by fifty feet wide, mostly glass with dark cherry wood trim. It was immense in its display and oblivious to the loud patrons in the bar.

“What a wackadoodle”, blared the rotund man with the rotund face. Laughter exploded at the table of six people where he sat.

“Don’t let him drive to the plant anymore”, piped the man with the scraggly beard.

“A u-turn over a huge median with a packed car. What was he thinking? What a wackadoodle”, the rotund continues.

“I thought the bumper was going to fall off”, said scraggly beard.

“The bumper did fall off”, retorted the rotund.

“Oh I know, that was when we arrived at the plant and parked”, replied scraggly beard, “I thought it was going to just drop off after the car scraped over the curb”

Laughter bursts from the junior members of this crew who sat at the table.

Not to be outdone by the rotund and scraggly beard, two gentlemen seated at the far side of my long tall table raise their voices several octaves.

“Frank doesn’t have a long term strategy”, says the man in the gray suit, white shirt and shiny black tie.

“You needn’t inform me. I know he doesn’t have a long term strategy”, says the man in the blue shirt and burgundy suspenders, “He is in it for the short term. He wants to get his bonus and run”

Gray suit bangs his hand on the table, “That’s exactly what I been telling people but who listens to me.”

Suspenders chimes in, “yeah, I been telling folk too but no one is listening.”

I can’t help but listen as I look out the window. I think to myself, this is one loud hotel lobby bar. The last time I heard this much noise at a lobby bar was in Chicago during the MLB playoffs when the Cubs were getting their butts kicked by the Mets. That was years ago and I sat quietly then as I ate just as I sit quietly and eat now. I check my itinerary for tomorrow. My flight leaves out of Newark at six-eleven in the morning. That’s why I’m spending the night at this full service hotel right here at the airport.

This pork belly pasta dish I’m eating tastes delicious. I didn’t know that you could mix pork belly with penne pasta. The pine nuts, vinegar, oil, chopped brussel sprouts, green onion and parsley really brings out the flavor.

“Sir, can I get you something else?” asks my waiter.

“No, just the check. I got a very early flight in the morning. I’m turning in for the night.”

“I don’t blame you, I’ll be right back” says my waiter as he takes my cleaned plate.

I stare out the large bay window of the hotel. It is still and oblivious to the noise in the lobby. I’m not oblivious. I can’t help but hear: “What a wackadoodle…”

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Part V – Riding the Double Decker

From the Business Travel Log

Part V – Riding the Double Decker

My plane makes a long downwind track past the Whitestone bridge before making a longer arc to face the runway. I think about a long journey I took in 1995 from Krasnoyarsk to Moscow.

The plane from Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, to Moscow was not a puddle jumper. It was a huge double decker Russian airliner. It was not the most modern of airliners but it was modern enough. My translator, Sergey, and I rode in first class.

“Jerry, how are you feeling”, asked Sergey.

“This toothache is killing me”, I replied.

“When we get to Moscow we can get some good medicine for you”, said Sergey.

“Zdravstvujtye, chto-nibud’ vypit “, said the handsome lady elegantly dressed in the blue, and white uniform with the long purple velvety scarf draped around her neck.

“I know what she said Sergey. What’s on that cart she’s pushing? I see vodka. Wait, what’s in that tall brown bottle?”

Sergey looks at the cart. “That’s Cognac.”

“French?”, I respond.

“Okay, Jerry, it’s Brandy.

The young lady pops the top of the Brandy after Sergey asks for it. My toothache is pounding.

“Nyet”, I tell her, “just give me the bottle”, I say.

She understood. Her eyes met my grimace. She winced.

Her language quickly switched to English, “Sir, I hope you feel better soon.”

“Spasiba Bolshoi”, I responded.

“Pozhaluysta”, she replied, smiling.

Hearing the wheels of my aircraft lock down awakens me from my daydream of memories.

“We are on our final approach to LaGuardia, please put your seats in the upright position with seatbelts buckled and your tray tables stowed” boomed the flight attendant over the intercom.

I comply. I look out my aircraft window at beauty, I marvel at nature, my heart is thankful, my mind is at peace, my hands are steady, my feet are grounded , my emotions contemplate joy. We touch down. Spasiba Bolshoi, we arrive.

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Part I – Conditioning

From The Business Travel Log

Part I – Conditioning

The large, gray, four-legged creature darted out of the shadows into the wash of the street light. Fortunately I was obeying the 15 mile per hour speed limit at my apartment complex. Deer love to walk through my complex at all hours of the night.

I take it easy on the main road. More deer may be roaming. At 4:30AM I can count on one hand the number of cars traveling down Mill Plain Road. The highways will be different.

Interstate 84 runs right through Danbury. It’s congested. It connects travelers to Highway 684. Highway 684 runs between Brewster, New York and White Plains, New York. It’s congested. The Hutchinson Parkway, often referred to as ‘The Hutch’, runs through Westchester County . It’s congested and it’s barely 5:00AM.

“It must be a lot of fun traveling like you do.”

“I wish I had a travel job like yours.”

I think about comments like these when I am competing with cars and trucks while speeding down the highway in dark predawn hours. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy traveling but I am conditioned to the hardship of road travel. Fatigue and weariness sets in at week two of continuous business travel. You wake up and your mind says I’m tired of this yet because you are conditioned, you find yourself getting dressed (after bathing of course) grabbing your luggage and heading to the airport.

Blinking lights of white and blue mounted upon the high cables of the Whitestone Bridge signal our exit from the Bronx into Flushing Queens. Off in the distance more lights outline the shape of the Throgs Neck Bridge. My weariness changes to exhilaration. My exhaustion turns into adrenaline. Conditioning and experience kick in.

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Charlotte to New York – Part VI

Charlotte to New York – Part VI

travel log for a travel blog

Philly again.

I wrote a poem titled “Train” once while seated on a train in Philly. It was accepted for publication a week later. Therefore, I have an affinity with Philly. On that day I was only traveling from New York to Washington DC. I listened to Miles that day. Today is different. A longer ride, Charlotte to New York. Today I started with Stanley’s “Lopsy Lu” at sunrise, continuously looped with “Get Down” by Eric during the day. Now that the sun has gone down I’m staying with Eric and “Slipping into Darkness”.

I’m still in the dining car. I peep at a young man ordering a soda and chips. He’s wearing 3 different watches on his right arm.

The dining car manager asks, “which of these is a designer watch?”

“The middle one”, replies the young man, “the one with the red face and gold hands; to match my kicks”. He stood at about five feet donned in a sleek, satin black gym suit wearing red high top sneakers with gold colored shoelaces. Indeed the middle watch was red and gold matching his kicks. The other two watches he wore were of a mere silver bracelet and leather band respectively.

“Young man, you look like you got a lot of time on your hand”, said the conductor to the young man as she walked through the dining car, “Hi Mary”, she greeted the dining car manager.

Hack, choke and wheeze went the guy who was trying to drink his beer but just happened to be within earshot of the conductor when she made her comment about the watches.

“You alright?” asked the dining car manager.

“Yeah, she caught me off guard” said the man readjusting his baseball cap. Laughter from everyone, including the young man ensued.

“That was a good one”, I added, “glad I wasn’t mid-sip when you said that.”

The friendly laughter continued as our train pulled into 30th Street Station.

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Charlotte to New York – Part III

Charlotte to New York – Part III

travel log for a travel blog

The voice of the conductor booms over our train’s intercom. “Attention passengers! This is a sold out train. Please remove all bags, coats, hats and luggage from the empty seat next to you so that passengers coming onboard can have a seat. I repeat this is a sold out train, this is a sold out train!”

We are in Selma, North Carolina, population less than seven thousand, which hosts the “Selma Railroad Day” festival annually. The festival celebrates the railroad heritage of Selma, NC, including parades, music, vendors and food. Though as a young man I had negative experiences with the Klan in towns near to Selma I focus on the positive about this place. The red caboose that sits outside of the train station adds a little artistry to the place.

By the way, the seat next to me is totally empty. My luggage is stowed in the overhead. A little elderly lady approaches.

“Is that seat free?”, she asks.

I reply, “Yes, it is. Can I help you with your bags?”

“Thank you, would you?”

“My pleasure.”

All bags stowed, both of us seated, she asks: “Where are you traveling to?”

“New York; and you?”

“Baltimore”, she replies…and a warm conversation begins.

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Charlotte to New York Part II

Charlotte to New York – Part II

travel log for a travel blog

I must be careful. This egg, sausage and cheese muffin is fresh out of the microwave hot! My train, The Carolinian, has a dining car. The Carolinian runs from New York Penn Station to Charlotte, North Carolina and it returns. It is a day train, therefore you get to see many sights along the way.

We just stopped in High Point, North Carolina. High Point is known for making furniture. Sometimes it is referred to as the “Home Furnishings Capital of the World”. (Wikipedia)

My headphones are still on. Bono is singing “A Beautiful Day” and it is a beautiful day. The sun is spreading light across a cloudless sky. There is a haziness filtering the sunshine but that is of no consequence, the sun is in charge this day. My train moves down the track, Bono croons away, my sandwich is cooled off, Bon Appétit to me!