Moncus: Traveling by train still preferred

The phone rang bright and early Sunday morning and Mickey Page got my attention by saying she was calling from a dining car as she wended her way to the Midwest via train. She knew she would cause a major fit of jealousy by telling me she was having breakfast and just enjoying watching the scenery slip by.

Actually, I had never received a call from anyone traveling by train. That in itself caused a few thoughts about the past and about how much the early travelers would have enjoyed hearing from friends and relatives as they rode along. Of course, some of the trainmen in the early days would use the phones that were placed along the tracks between stops. Such phones could be used for emergencies and also to report on the progress of the train. Now, we have cell phones and can make calls all along the way.

Mickey had already bragged about her coming trip, and we had visited much about the luxury of train travel we both enjoyed in our youths. The formality in the dining car was very special with white linens, all sorts of silver, fresh flowers, and most courteous servers. Men would pass through the various cars letting passengers know when the dining car was open and would then allow only so many travelers to enter atone time. Several calls would be made before that car closed and was then made ready for the next meal.

Most of my traveling was done between here and El Paso; thus, I didn't know much about cars other than the dining car and the chair cars until I had the opportunity to travel farther west. Discovering the comforts of the compartments was a major thrill for the young girl from lma. Even learning to climb into the top berth on the Pullman cars was a major treat. In those days, we didn't seem to be in a big rush to get to our destinations and could just enjoy relaxing and dreaming as we rode along.

Some of us would still prefer to travel that way if we had the opportunity. Yes, Mickey had the opportunity and took advantage of it. She will have bragging rights for months to come and will remind me on occasion about the fun she had as she rode the rails. We'll then lapse into stories of our experiences in the past and recall much about railroad history. We really were fortunate to pass this way when we did.

Lynn Moncus is a Tucumcari resident and can be contacted through the Quay County Sun by calling 461-1952.

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