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Evelyn remembers her parents watching a TV show about a Belgian detective who solved a murder on the Orient Express. The train had seemed so quaint and elegant; a far cry from today's so-called "modern" train travel. Evelyn frequently lamented the by-gone days of comforts for the traveling public as she zipped from city to city via any form of public transportation. It feels far from "modern," really.
While her mother lauded the idea of an Amtrak Auto train, it sounded like actual torture to Evelyn, who had crossed the United States twice in one week several times in the past year.
Yet, Evelyn's mother had booked four tickets for Evelyn, herself, and Evelyn's sister, Louise to travel on the Orient Express for their Alpine Lakes regional tour.
As much as Evelyn had hated the idea of an Amtrak to Georgia, The Orient Express was obviously, not even on the same playing field. It was the epitome of elegance- far better than any cruise, and more luxurious than any hotel she'd ever stayed in. The trio were overjoyed by all of the little luxuries of the trip and relished in every tea, and sighting the views from their windows. This felt like modern vacation and travel. "Amenities that actually feel like amenities, and not necessities," remarked Louise.
Each traveler had their own compartment, or could sit with their companions in a private booth or in the reading car. , Every night you were required to dress formally for dinner, and the maids would turn down everyone's bedsheets while you dined.
They overheard a very Agatha Christie-esque British man with a mustache remarking on the bedsheet turning down to another of his train mates, "Very civilized, what?"
The girls smiled and took turns impersonating him throughout the journey, adding "what"s to the ends of their affirmative sentences every now and then. They also all began referring to their fellow passengers by Agatha Christie Inspired nicknames.
"If all train travel was like this," Evelyn announced to her sisters at tea time as they were cresting the alps, "I'd only travel on trains!" The words had barely left her mouth when the train hit an unexpected bump, and some of her perfectly brewed tea splashed out of her cup onto her lap. Of course she was wearing her new creme dress, and if the stain was to come out, it had to be dealt with immediately. Evelyn had never been the poised sister, but luckily, her eldest sister Louise was, and handed her a tide-to-go pen, "Hopefully it won't ruin the fabric..." Louise said suspiciously.
Her mother discretely passed her a linen napkin, damp on one corner, "You know, when Evelyn was very young, my sister Marie and I took her on an overnight trip on the train to Georgia to visit Great Grandma Cecil. The first morning Evelyn spilled orange juice all over her pretty new ruffle blouse-- and look," she said smiling, and touching Evelyn's sleeve, "you're still wearing ruffles!" They all laughed.
"I was so mad at that orange juice." Evelyn said.
"History repeats itself!" Louise remarks, turning for a last glimpse the mountains as they whiz by, before shooting through a tunnel.
Epilogue: From the author,
That orange juice story is so real. A few 2018 Calendars are still available, don't go another day without yours! Purchase one here.
Her eyes opened- fully awake with the first tough of light. She sat up slowly and peered our onto the water. Her eyelids still covered in a little bit of sparkle from New Year’s Eve just a few hours earlier.
Her friends were still sleepy lumps around her. They had dozed off here after the fireworks. She rose and walked to the windows. The sunshine was beginning to touch the water and make it sparkle.
She and her friends had walked to the lighthouse only a few hours before, giggling and whispering as they climbed up and shared a bottle of champagne. Then at the stroke of midnight- as fireworks exploded in the sky, they sang old auld lang syne.
Now she gazed at the water below her and thought this is just how the new year ought to feel- bright, cool, and full of promise.
Happy 2018. If you haven’t purchased your 2018 calendar- don’t miss another day, and buy one now! January, 2018.
What Child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.
Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.
So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come peasant, king to own Him;
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Raise, raise a song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.
Thank you, friends for all of your support this year. I'm constantly reminding myself that I've been given the gifts I'm able to share with all of you, and I'm always grateful with being deliberately filled with the desire to create beautiful things. I believe I'm given these gifts by a personal and loving God who sent his son to die for us on a cross so that we may live.
Merry Christmas to you and to yours. I hope this day brings you peace and joy.