I survived. More importantly so did my family. I am home and got to sleep in my own bed last night. I slept like a rock, a warm and cozy rock.
I'll start with the train ride. It was, to date, the least late of all the trips I have taken. I had two seats to myself for almost all of the ride. That means I was able to sleep. Not that sleep on a train, in coach, is particularly restful. My food and drink reserves held for the whole trip. The fly in the ointment was the 2 hour stint from Denver to Granby when I had some old geezer sit next to me and spout a bunch of racist, bigoted bullshit as if he thought I might agree with him. It was Japs this, and Obama that, and something about how if his daughter had ever come home with a black guy, she wouldn't be welcome. I could hear the people sitting behind me gasping. I just smiled, told him that everyone has an opinion and then I attempted to change the subject. I was tempted to tell him to shut the fuck up and keep his hatred to himself. I was tempted to tell him (politely) that it might be best if he found another place to sit. The train was full. That is why I did neither. I did not want to be stuck sitting next to him while he directed that hatred and ignorance at me.
My family was only marginally better than that guy. I was asked my political views by an uncle who really wasn't trying to be argumentative. He honestly wanted to know what I thought. His sister in law, my aunt however tried to start a "debate". I told her that I knew that her opinions were not the same as mine, and that she was entitled to those opinions. Just as I was entitled to mine. That I would not argue politics with her, as we would NEVER change each others minds.
I stayed at a cousins house, on an air mattress. Word to the wise, when up in the mountains, in the cold, air mattresses need to have a blanket that you sleep on top of PLUS about 3 more to cover yourself with. The air inside the mattress is the same temp as the room. And the room I slept in was about 40 degrees.
Gift giving went well, I now have more orange stuff. And more salt and pepper shakers. And more crosses. I gave every one pieces of cross stitch, and then told them how it was intended to be "used". For one uncle I had a gift card, since he lost his house to a fire. I figure he knows what he needs and I don't want to get him something useless.
The train ride home was late getting to the station. By an hour. But it was nice. I saw a bald eagle launch itself into the air. I saw others in trees. I saw a huge herd of elk, running in the snow. I saw wild turkeys in the corner of a field. I saw the sun rise all pink and orange, over some hills. I saw the frost glitter on the dirt road that ran along side of the tracks. And I saw horses playing in the snow. All of this was beautiful.
My train arrived home at 7pm. THREE hours late. I was never so happy to be home. To sleep in a REAL bed. And a friend of mine gave me an early birthday present. A case of beer. It was a fantastic homecoming. Now, I just need to gear up for Friday, my birthday. I will try not to do what I did last year. And hopefully I won't need to spend Saturday hiding under the blankets and pillows with a pounding hangover.
--Little Bird is back in the nest