Note: this has nothing to do with the Cubs or Bears, but is merely explains why I've been out of commission...
Here's my story.
I'm taking a train to go pick up my daughter.
She's in Kansas City, and wants to come home for her month and a half off school for the holiday.
She's got an old Mercury, and we're not comfy with her driving that back to Chicago thru the bad weather, so I'm "training" down to help drive back up.
My train leaves 3:00 Friday afternoon.
I'm down at the station at 2, SO excited to go down - the last time I rode a train I was carrying my collection of marbles in case some kid wanted to lose his.
Here's just out my window at Union Station, Chi.
Turns out my train is called the "Southwest Chief", and if I was goin' crazy I could ride it all the way thru Flagstaff and Barstow and end up in LA.
A conductor comes down the aisle and asks if anybody wants a dinner reservation.
I go, "You got a steak?"
Sounds totally wrong I know, but I'm all goo goo with the romance of the Southwest Chief.
Outside I watch the most gorgeous snow I've ever seen.
At 6:30 I go to the dining car with my book thinking I'd sit there and read and eat.
Instead a couple other people are seated at my table: a Grandmother going to see her grand babies, and a guy left his job and whole life behind to go be with the woman he loves.
They're an unexpected treat to talk to, and it's a magical night.
I go back to my seat and suddenly the train stops.
For no reason and in the middle of nowhere.
Even though everybody was holding their breath, you can b a r e l y hear the engineer say the word "emergency".
Everybody looks at each other.
After a bit, the engineer says a freight train went off the tracks up ahead and we can't get by.
My daughter is picking me up in two and a half hours, at the station in Kansas City.
They put the train in reverse, we go back to a town called Fort Madison, which is in Iowa.
We're allowed to "get off and smoke" if we're so inclined, and there's a rumor about busses coming.
I look at Mary, the used book store owner next to me and say, "It would suck if we have to sleep on this train."
At 1:30 I close my book, look at the crazy snow, and turn off my light.
People have moved around and I've got the whole seat to myself.
Thing is, there's a metal ledge about even with and right in between the seat cushions, and all by itself ruined the sleep thing.
At 7:30 they had breakfast for us.
"Complimentary", and yet the same eggs I had in my college cafeteria a million years ago.
Our driver said that she had a dvd player, so if someone had a dvd they could play it.
Somebody'd put on "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory".
My daughter picked me up exactly 23.5 hours after I got on the train.
And right now we'll get in the car and drive back to Chicago.
I'm so happy.
Anyway, lets go back.
Right after the engineer said we were gonna have to go in reverse back to Fort Madison?
To these aunts across the aisle I say, "Do you know what day it is?"
They look confused.
"Friday?" says one.
I look at her like, "Yeah and…"?
"Friday THE THIRTEENTH!" they say.
And I go, "No. Not just that. It's Friday the thirteenth and it's my birthday."