Thursday, September 04, 2008

Strangers on a Train, Pt. 5

Over the Labor Day weekend, I packed up the LW, the Horde, and traveled over to Salt Lake to visit. It was a whirlwind trip, but it was nice to be able to get away from home and see our friends and family. I was even able to spend an afternoon with a good friend from my mission days, and with whom I attended law school.

Yet again, I relied upon Salt Lake's public transportation to get around. And yet again, I have some sightings to report.

On the first morning we were there--Thursday--I wound up standing on the TRAX train platform nice and early: had to get my day started as soon as possible, after all! It had to have been around 7:00 a.m. Now, those who know me know that I am not a morning person.

Far from it.

So here I am, trying not to fall asleep and careen off the platform onto the tracks, questioning my sanity, and reveling in a real good, deep, dark grump. The platform was crowded with people headed to work and to the University. Halfway down the platform from where I stood is a woman, mid-sixties, plump, grandmotherly. She's regaling a few other passengers-in-waiting in a loud voice with some story about a dog she had when she was a child who caught a watersnake in her backyard and how it horrified her mother.

Then, jarringly, she just stops talking to the people around her, walks up the platform towards where I was standing. In an even louder voice she calls out, "Hey! Good morning to all of you! Here's hoping you have a wonderful, glorious day!"

No joke.

It took me aback; my first instinct was to cower from the crazy lady. Honestly. Now, I'm a little ashamed that this was my initial reaction, but there it is. And I'm not the only one who felt that way, judging my the looks on the faces around me.

Plus, c'mon. Who really can be that chipper, that happy, on any morning, let alone at 7:00 a.m.?

Then Loud Chipper Grandmother walks back to her previous audience and tells another quick story about her dog. Again, she finished up the story abruptly and wandered down toward the other end of the platform. I heard the following come echoing down the tracks: "Hey! Good morning to all of you! Here's hoping you have a wonderful, glorious day!"

Yep. Same spiel. Word for word.

Even from the other end of the platform I could tell those people were having the same "first thought" that I had.

A few minutes later, after she had returned to hold court with the doggie crew, the train pulled up and as it approached where she was standing, she turned and waved at the engineer.

That's when it hit me.

She's happy. Genuinely happy. And she doesn't care who sees it, who knows it, who feels it. And because she's happy, she wants to share it.

Share it she did. After my first embarassingly ugly thought about her sanity, the happiness and good will settled on my shoulders, into my heart and mind, and it was clear that others on the platform had the same sensation. It may have been 7:00 a.m., but I was happy. I wanted to share the happiness too; I wanted to wish everyone around me a good morning.

There was no racing for seats, no jostling for position. There was kindness and camaraderie on that train. That feeling lasted and stayed with me for hours.

Bless you, ma'am. Whoever and wherever you are. Keep up the good work.

And to my readers: Good morning! Here's hoping you have a wonderful, glorious day!

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