NEVER A DULL MOMENT?
PUT YOUR SHOES (AND SHIRT) ON, LUCY!
The following is from my "DINNER TRAIN" memories. My job was to play violin, as I strolled (Ha!) through six long, old, squeaking railroad cars, which were set up like dining rooms. On the train, seated customers enjoyed the four-hour moonlit ride. The train stopped on an old RR bridge, at the mid-point of a wide expanse of water near the Gulf of Mexico. There, diners drank fine wine, ate a fine dinner, and were finely entertained by a group of professional actors performing a 'Mystery' play . Of course, all aboard savored the tuxedo-adorned, joke-telling, strolling violinist -VBG-.
About 5 PM Valentine's Day 2005, I was sitting in my truck, eating a sandwich. I had arrived early for this gig, since it was far from home, and musicians DO that--get there early. So, relaxing before my job, a slight six o'clock breeze winded its way through the old defunct shopping center. I was parked about six hundred yards from where I would eventually be, basking in that state between awake and sleep. I could not help noticing a 14-passenger van--being driven erratically--pass me by and park about half the distance between my truck and the train station.
The train was scheduled to depart in an hour, 6 PM. The van was situated in a area which shielded them from public view. But me...I had a clear line of vision. Almost immediately jumped out of all four doors, a whole family; grandparents, parents, a couple other adults, and five children aged about 3 to 17 years old, my guess! They had obviously spent the day at the beach, all attired in bathing suits, with towels hanging everywhere. Well, I saw them hang up street clothes on the open van doors, and then...and then...and then they ALL, children and adults and old folks, shed their swim wear, like at a signal. And I saw them walking about unabashedly in their birthday suits, toweling, drying each other, wearing nary a stitch. Next, they all walked around the van, searching out each one's own hanger of street clothes. It was the only time I have ever actually seen (OK 'watched'!) people dress themselves from scratch (sorry!). They did not see me ogling...and I (not an habitual voyeur) was kicking myself for leaving my binoculars at home. But I DID get quite an eyeful for about fifteen minutes. Guess I might have asked St. Augustine for help, cranked up the Mazda and driven away, out of sight, around the corner--but I was, like, mesmerized! Anyway, it was all over (too) soon enough.
As I walked up to the loading docks to board the train, I was still in a kind of shock, and to the man in line in front of me, I said, "WOW! You will never guess what *I* just saw!" And I proceeded to enthusiastically relate my experience to him. After a few minutes, he laughed and said, "Oh, that was us--me and my family. We had no idea someone was watching us". ("Boy, this guy is quick on the trigger", thought I.)
Well, naturally I didn't believe him, since--as a practicing "put-on" expert-myself, I knew he was putting me on. So we both laughed and I climbed onto the caboose, to go into my musical warm-up. Later, about three cars down, I found myself playing to a large gathering, a family, and--YEP--it was the same family which had put on a private show for me. (Hardly recognized them clothed!) And the fellow to whom I had earlier, so exuberantly related my tale, was there ALSO! He was an uncle...(yeah!). He then told them of my (hate this word) voyeurism, and all laughed! Fortunately, they all had a sense of humor, and we got along fine. I played for them at least 20 minutes.
Sometimes God allows us to meet a group of strangers--who become instant friends. Like the experience you all gave to me nine weeks ago, on this blogaroni. Thank You, God, for sobriety, and 'vision'...-grin-, and my newly aquired, recovering friends!