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December 12, 2017
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View From the Train


Well, I was hoping by the Friday after the election, things would return to normal in the third car of the 5:07 a.m. out of Port Jervis; silly me. It had been a slow boil to Tuesday’s election and the car had been clearly divided by party lines. Democrats occupied the front half of the car and Republicans in the rear, conductors dare not reveal their politics for fear of being mobbed by one half or another. These last 18 long months have brought a boisterous din to the car, which has only grown louder as the campaign waged on.  Read more

Looking in the rearview mirror

Hope you enjoyed Indian Summer. It officially ended over the weekend; the cold wind and rain cleared out most of the leaves from the trees.

The change of seasons is a beautiful thing here in the Upper Delaware Valley. City friends asked on Facebook if they had missed the peak season of the fall foliage extravaganza. Naturally, we know they had, but being the eternal optimist that I am, I told them “No, it will be back again next year. Mother Nature always provides.” Many replied with a variety of the term “smart aleck” or worse. Guess I had that coming.  Read more

The virtue of patience

A few weeks ago during a marathon in Lehigh Valley, a freight train interrupted the race, which caused many runners not to qualify for the Boston Marathon. News outlets showed photos of the frustrated runners literally stopped in their tracks, passing time by running in place waiting for the train cars to pass. Several runners actually jumped over the tracks between cars of the slow-moving freight train, which could have had a terrible outcome for these inpatient runners.  Read more


There was a tradition in many homes growing up, including mine, of setting up the Lionel Trains and tracks in some part of the house for the Christmas holidays. I am sure if my dad had his way they would be set up year round, but alas he was out-voted by Mom. My brother and I would spend many hours with Dad setting up the system, and every year Dad attempted to make the course slightly different. He would ask us what we thought and would allow us to unwrap each car from its newspaper wrapping. Due to space limitations, we always seemed to wind up with the same figure-eight track.  Read more

Dog days of summer

Man, it’s been hot these days. I mean really hot, maybe even too hot to go swimming in the lake, if I had the time and it weren’t too crowded. Our air conditioning at home crapped out, as it will when you need it, and we were back to using fans. I remember as a kid my bedroom was on the third floor of our Brooklyn home. Mom would bring a bowl of ice in a metal pot and place it in front of my fan. Mentally I thought it was cooling me down, but the reality was, it was too hot for me to care.  Read more

Baby on board

When I think of the term “baby on board,” I think of those signs that used to be popular in the back window of cars. They were meant as a warning to other drivers that the car did indeed have a little one in the back seat, with the hope that they would slow down and use a little more caution when driving past the vehicle. Then somewhere, somebody complained that they were blocking the driver’s view and could cause an accident, yadda yadda yadda; they passed a law and the signs went away.  Read more

Yes, Sancho Panza, chivalry is alive!

A track fire that disrupted the Metro-North commute in East Harlem recently left thousands stranded in Grand Central Terminal for their commute home and over the next few days added to their daily trials and tribulations. It is during these times that the cream really rises to the top and we find our modern day knights.  Read more

Puppy power

Many of my fellow commuters are pet people; they would prefer talking about what their pets did over the weekend to talking about their kids or significant other. Everyone has great stories of the weekend adventures, and with the current turkey-mating season in full swing, some of the stories are quite funny—especially to dog people. We were raising two Corgis who just love to herd these big birds, or squirrels, or just about anything that moves. Our dogs have plenty of area to run on our 10 acres and have been trained over the years not to wander too far from home.  Read more

Judging a book by the cover

The recent terror attacks in Belgium remind us that this new world we live in is far from safe, yet we go on with our daily routines. Although the incident occurred an ocean away, we here in New York can still feel the sting of the attacks that landed here on our shores. I was across from the towers on 9/11 and saw the horror firsthand, yet I cannot blame one race or religion of people. There are good and bad in every neighborhood, and I for one cannot profile any race or religion.  Read more

Miss Margret’s notes

Miss Margret sat quietly in her corner next to the window; across her lap was the work bag she was using as a desk. On the seat beside her was a collection of note cards, each grouped by subject, from what I could tell. Thank you cards on top of birthday cards on top of sympathy cards: six lots in all. She was looking out the train window from time to time taking in the scenery and contemplating the words she would write next. Dressed impeccably from head to toe, ready for the business of the day, she wore a pleated skirt of a royal blue that matched the blue frills of her white blouse.  Read more