The observation car on the Amtrak passenger train, has got to be the best part of riding the rails. Even on a rainy day, there was just so much to take in while rolling across Texas. After dinner in the dining car, this is where we landed. It is the perfect relaxing space. On this particular rainy evening, just before a brief stop in Austin, Texas, it became the perfect “gathering” place.I was barely seated in the observation car when a young man( on the right below), Mike, wanted to see my camera. His enthusiasm for photography was contagious. He showed me many photos he’d taken along the way from where his journey had started in Springfield, Illinois. He told me he was looking to shoot a ~ what? I didn’t understand at first. I listened more closely. He described with his arms a chomper? Crocodiles, he said. Or alligators. I did NOT burst his bubble and tell him we probably wouldn’t see either of those critters. I just committed to helping him watch for them through the windows.
This was his first trip “alone”. He destination? Los Angeles. His plans? To learn the recording business. I switched seats promptly to sit closer to him. He wanted me to listen to his music and before I knew it, I was wearing his headphones and be-bopping to his music. No….to his life. His story through the headphones was one of a young man who had gotten with the wrong crowd. His life was in a downward spiral. He was seeking the Lord to pull him back up, to make him a better man. His goal now? To help others and pursue his dreams. I finished the song, took off the headphones, thanked him for sharing his song/life with me and wanting to say so much more…..and his phone rang. Well of course, I couldn’t help but listen! We were next to each other! “I’m good, I’m fine. I know it’s my first trip alone, but you can’t be worrying. Yes, there are lots of nice people here to talk to.” ~pause~ “What state are we in?” Me ~ “Still Texas.” Him, back on phone, “Man, we still in Texas. This is the biggest place I’ve ever seen! I’ve been in Texas all day long!” And this made me think of my own boys. Their first trips “alone”. And being the mama on the other side of that phone call.Mason is the young man on the left. He too, began in Springfield…destination L.A. His conversations were mostly in “song”. When he left and came back with his guitar, well, I could hardly control myself. Music. Raw sweet music. I get lost in it. I looked at hubby and by the look in his eyes, I could see he was thinking of our “boy band” at home, too. (okay ~ my sons would HATE being called a boy band….but then, I am the one penning this! :)) Mason was amazing. You could give him a subject or just a word and he would immediately produce an awesome country song about it. And not just silly stuff….GOOD STUFF! And once he would begin his song, Mike would join in with the hip-hop. It was an amazing evening. There is no other place on earth I’d have rather been.Austin, Texas through the window ~Mason sang about his ride on the train. How it started with five friends, and ended with ten. ♥ That’s how we felt too, Mason.
Mike and I never located that gator or croc. But just before Austin, Texas, the rain broke for a spell, and we did capture this rainbow together. Hubby and I left the car a bit later for our room. We wished them well. And we meant it. From the depths of our heart ♥