You can always come home
Talking to Yankees
Revenge is sweet
Far be it for me to criticize the position of a taxi cab driver if it is a comfortable way to drive, but my problem with this driver was he immediately began a series of questions.
The questions I didn't mind, in fact I was amused at some of them. My problem was that he would take a short glance in the direction he was traveling, and then turn back to the conversation. Sometimes he would go almost a block before he took another glance down the street like maybe the cab was equipped with radar that kept it from smashing into the other cars weaving in and out of the lanes. I think they must have some kind of law that prohibits driving a entire block without changing lanes.
Now, getting back to the cabbie's questions. The first was, "What part of the South are you folks from?"
Did you ever have the urge to misrepresent things? I quickly overcome that urge, and come straight out and said we are from the Great State of Mississippi. Now, that really brought on a multitude of questions.
He asked if it was really true that every family had its own whiskey still. Did they really shoot the revenuers if they snooped around their stills? Did we eat mostly grits, gravy and greens?
He really wasn't giving me a chance to consider the questions, much less answer them. I could tell right off he had been brainwashed about Mississippi. I decided since I didn't have the time, and wasn't in the mood to set him straight, I might as well add a few things he hadn't heard.
So, I said to him, "Man, you don't know the half of it. If the sheriff down there catches a stranger in town after dark, he will either shoot him on the spot or lock him up to be shot in the morning."
I had some more good ones I intended to tell, but we arrived at the hotel and that ended my campaign of misinformation.
Ready for Grand
He insisted on carrying our luggage in, and we had a friendly chat. He said he had never been out of New York, other than trips to Brooklyn. He offered to take us any place we wanted to see while we were in New York. As it turned out, this taxi cab driver was one of the friendliest people we had the pleasure to meet.
We had already made arrangements to stay in New York a couple of days before we resumed our trip by train to Meridian. We really had planned to see some of the sights in the city, but after our ordeal the day before, we decided to see the city from our hotel window.
Our hotel was right off Fifth Avenue, and we had a corner room where we could watch the people and traffic. We did venture out a few times to have lunch, but stayed within walking distance of the hotel. We wanted to be rested up for the coming ordeal of Grand Central Station.
We had gained a little confidence about taxi cabs, so getting to Grand Central was no problem. Grand Central Station itself was something else.
We had been away from the States almost three years, and there had been many changes like we experienced our first escalator. It took several trips up and down before we could get our daughter away from it.
We were amazed that all the people were in such a big hurry. They would literally run over you if you happened to be in the way. Had they not heard of maana? If you don't get it done today, there is always tomorrow. What about siesta? All the people sitting on the seats provided for rest were fidgeting or reading. We saw none just relaxing.
I supposed we had been in the tropics too long. In Panama, the phrase, "Hurry up" was out of order.
We had to find the ticket agent and present our travel voucher in order to get the tickets for the train trip. I believe it was the third person we asked for directions who spoke a language we could understand.
We received the tickets, and were to leave New York by the Norfolk and Western through Washington, D.C., and Virginia and make connections with the L&N to Mobile, Ala., and then the GM&O to Meridian.
Sounds very simple if we could get to the right departing gate at the right time. There were just 15 departing gates, but they said, "Don't worry," they would call out the time and departing gate.
There was a train leaving every 10 or 15 minutes, and I made a point to listen to the one who was calling the time and gate, and wondered why they had hired a foreigner who could not speak understandable English. I concluded this was the reason there were so many people in New York. They had made the decision to just stay instead of trying to get a train out.
I figured the odds 100-1 that we would be on the right train. We had several hours until our hopeful departing time. We went back to the escalator for several more rides up and down. We shopped around, and I supposed you could buy almost anything in the place.
We noticed a place where people were buying things to eat on the train. We bought a whole cooked fryer in a brown paper bag. That was before the widespread use of aluminum foil.
That ends the story of a couple of days in New York City for a family not used to the modern ways and activities of the times. In spite of negative odds, we did get the right train out of New York City… and that train trip is another