What Not to Do

mural by K Gibbins
Mural © Kenita Gibbins

As reported by a very serious Kenita Gibbons —

My friend and I were returning home on the Chicago-to-Denver Amtrak route. The train made a stop for cigarette smokers, who absolutely can’t smoke anywhere on the train. I exited the train with a hand from the conductor. I told him, “I’m not a smoker, but I am a photographer.” He told me we had stopped in Galesburg, Illinois, once the home of Carl Sandburg. He then pointed beyond the front of the train to a big mural and said, “There is a picture of him.”

The conductor turned from me and without thinking I took off to photograph the very famous poet Mr. Sandburg. Our train car was near the end. I walked as swiftly as possible since I’m a little old lady. Well, maybe not so little. I reached my destination and happily clicked and clicked.

I proceeded back to my car and immediately noticed no smokers! I picked up my pace. I then saw the conductor frantically waving his arm. He yelled “GET ON THE TRAIN”. I couldn’t find an unlocked door. I started running. I hadn’t run in years. Thank goodness I wasn’t at Denver altitude. I reached my hero at the door and he literally pulled me into the train. He told me he was surprised the engineer waited for me. I immediately wondered if Galesburg even had a hotel or taxi? My what ifs scared me.

That evening my friend and I enjoyed a wonderful steak dinner, the company of a very interesting young man, who had been to New Orleans via Amtrak. Our conductor walked through and I asked him if he would like to see my images? He liked them, but of course didn’t like the way I obtained them. As always he was a gentleman and didn’t admonish me for my one track mind of taking pictures.

Until I looked at my images I didn’t realize I not only delayed the train, but I also delayed a vehicle that could not move until the train moved. I will never again inconvenience so many people in this manner. I’m only hoping to reach the age of wisdom before I turn eighty.