Graduations and Another Good Reason to Ride the Train

by on August 2, 2017 · 1 comment

in Ocean Beach

This has been a month of graduations.  My grandson – one of twins – graduated with his Master’s in Social Work. (His twin graduated last year with the same degree.)  Two of my grandsons graduated from high school, and one of them  won a wrestling scholarship to Central University in Iowa.  (If you have been reading my columns for awhile, you might remember the article I wrote about my grandson going from the dance floor to the wrestling mat.)

This article really isn’t about my grandson, per se, but his graduation is the catalyst for this article being written.

His graduation ceremony was held at 5:00pm, at San Diego State University, on a Monday afternoon,  because the auditorium at his high school was being remodeled.  My daughter decided that rather than have everyone fight the traffic to see him graduate she would have a “going away to college” party for him a few weeks later.

She invited 50+ people, including her sister Lynn, who, coincidentally, is the mother of the other high school graduate.  More importantly, Lynn’s birthday was a few weeks before the party, and what this 50+ lady wanted for a birthday gift was surfing lessons.  Yes.  She lived almost her entire life one block from Sunset Cliffs and never learned to surf. Rather odd, too, because she loved the water.  In fact, she was the first female to play for the water polo team at Pt. Loma High School.

Her husband, being the smart man that he is, gave her a gift certificate for surfing lessons at “Surf Diva Surf School” in La Jolla. And, being the smart woman that she is, decided to combine the party with her surf lessons.  What transpired during the two days that she was here is immaterial, except to say that on the second day she did catch some waves, and is looking forward to her next two lessons.

So what does this have to do with riding a train?

Lynn lives in Orange County and rather than drive down for the lessons and party, she decided to take an Amtrak.  It worked out perfectly; I picked her up on Friday at the depot; she took an Uber to the lessons, and after the party on Sunday I dropped her back at the depot.  And that is where the fun begins.

The train that she took was very, very crowded because it went directly to Santa Barbara.  (Did you know that there is an Amtrak that goes directly to Santa Barbara?  If the train number ends in a “5” it is direct.  If it ends in any other number a bus will take you from L.A. to Santa Barbara.)

Lynn’s reservation was for a later train because we were not sure how long the party would last, but the “conductress” – is that what you call a female conductor? – told her it was okay and she managed to find a seat in the very crowded car.  And what a great car it was.  A passenger brought along his banjo, and he played music and the riders sang all the way to Anaheim – where Lynn got off.

As people were waiting for the train to come into the boarding area, the conductress asked Lynn why she was in San Diego.  Lynn told her that she had gone to her nephew’s party, and was celebrating her birthday by taking surfing lessons.  She was asked if she managed to stand up and Lynn answered in the affirmative.  At which point the conductress grabbed the microphone and said,

“Riders, Lynn here is celebrating her birthday.  Her husband gave her surfing lessons for her birthday and she managed to ride the waves.  Let’s all sing Happy Birthday to Lynn”. 

The entire car erupted into a chorus of song and as everyone got off the train, they all wished her a Happy Birthday.

How special was that?  She can hardly wait for the next weekend to complete her surfing lessons.  Wonder what might happen then?

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Lynn August 2, 2017 at 8:42 pm

Small point of correction – if the number of the the train starts with a 7, that means the train goes all the way to Santa Barbara. If it starts with a 5, it only goes as far as Los Angeles. Also, the instrument was a “Banjo Uke,” which I had never heard of (although I like my name for it better – I thought it was called a Banjoluki). It was by far the best train ride every!


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