Monday, September 19th, 2011

I spent Saturday in East Troy again, putting in a little volunteer time at the East Troy Electric Railway, but with an amazing difference this time: My Darling B went along to play trains, too. Yes! I still don’t know why, but she did.

They needed help on the dinner train and each dining car has a bar serving wine, beer and mixed drinks, so she volunteered to pour and they took her up on it. We left Our Humble O’Bode at around one-thirty and were there a couple hours before the dinner train was scheduled to leave, so we helped set up, or My Darling B did. I started to help out until Bev, the head honcho, asked me if I would like to be the conductor on the trolley that was about to leave the station. Again I had to stop myself from blurting out, “Does anybody ever say no to that?”

It was actually an elevated rail car from the 1920s, and I didn’t have much conducting to do. As we left the station, all I had to do was wander down the aisle punching tickets, and there were maybe a dozen people riding the car, so I was done in less than five minutes. It’s about a twenty-minute ride to the other end of the track, so I spent most of my time in the cab with Andy, the motorman, who obligingly showed me how to make the train go and how to make it stop, two things I want very much to know how to do so that maybe, someday, I’ll be able to drive the train myself.

About an hour later we were back at the station and I was running back up the track to the dinner train to see what still had to be done to get it ready to go. Not much, as it turned out. Everybody else had done all the hard work. All I had to to was move some of the glasses around and then stand by the door and look pretty while the passengers came aboard. We left the station spot on time at five o’clock.

Brett was the bartender in Car 25 and I was his server, gofer and whatever else he needed me to be. Right after the train left the station I went to the far end of the car to take orders for drinks while Brett started at the near end and did the same. When we met somewhere in the middle we headed back to the bar where Brett mixed up the drinks and I passed them out. I think we got that all done in less than fifteen minutes. After that, all we had to do was keep everyone happy by making sure their glasses were never empty very long. Pretty easy job, really. Maybe someday I’ll learn how to mix drinks and then it’ll be even easier, although I’ll never be as good at cracking jokes as Brett is.

My Darling B was in Car 24 doing the same thing I was doing. Every so often we met in the middle to check on each other and swap stories. Three weeks ago we were riding this same train as passengers, and if I’d known that they served up a bottle of bubbly and a bouquet of roses to people with wedding anniversaries I’d have made sure they knew we were there for ours, but we didn’t think of it then. Two people in Car 25 were celebrating birthdays, too, and they got cupcakes. I think I’m going to have a birthday soon. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

We stayed behind after the ride was over to help them bag the table cloths, empty the garbage cans and otherwise clean up the cars before they rolled them away to the barn. Then My Darling B and I wandered off toward the station … and came across Andy getting ready to put the open-air street car away. “Want a ride to the platform?” he asked, and that’s how we got out own chartered trolley ride up the tracks to the station, a great ending to a fun night. Funnily enough, B wants to go again next weekend.

tender | 6:24 pm CDT
Category: daily drivel | Tags: ,
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