Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Today was a travel day, yes. Not a long one, but maneuvers were made via car, and then by train. Amtrak, as it turns out was lovely and smooth, with free wifi, electrical outlets, and a dining car. Not exactly white table cloths and waiters, but - one could 'dine', after a fashion. If what one wants is pre cooked snack foods such as cinnamon rolls, cupcakes, burritos and the like, one could survive.

I stuck to my banana.

But as the countryside swept past, I began to remember the last time I had been on that train. It was the year 1980, just shortly after May 18. Can anyone guess what had happened on May 18, 1980? Hmmm? A wild guess?

If you named the eruption of Mt. St. Helens, well then you would be right. It was a shocking event that people had feared and dreaded for weeks, even months. There were people up on that mountain who had told media outlets that they were "NOT LEAVING." Everyone was dreadfully worried about them, and tried like anything to get them to come down. One of these was Harry R. Truman, who did not want to leave his Lodge on Spirit Lake. 

But when the eruption happened, it was too late; Truman, among others, died.


The Highway Patrol had restricted the freeways of western Washington state, and I had a singing engagement in the Tacoma area. I had to be there, it was important. So my husband said, "Well, you can always try the train."

My departure was from Albany, Oregon and for a while everything was normal. Somewhere near the Washington border, a conductor appeared and announced that we would be required to wear face masks. These masks were to alleviate the effects of volcanic ASH on the lungs. We passengers couldn't get those masks on fast enough. 

Soon, piles of fine white ash began to gather on the chair backs, the tray tables, and the windowsills. The passenger car looked like a fog had set in. I sure hoped that face mask was enough protection. It was all very eerie.

I just discovered that I am sitting up, asleep, my dear Readers. Time to get to bed! But it has been interesting to recall that train trip 34 years ago while riding it again today. Of course today, there were no piles of fine white ash anywhere. No surgical masks. No frightened people looking at what looked like a snow storm outside the train window. Nope. It was all good, all clean, all forgotten.

Someone told us there are other mountains in the Pacific Rim that could 'wake up' one of these times. Sleepers that could make themselves heard, once again. I don't know...it doesn't sound too plausible.

But then again, neither did St. Helens.

St. Helens 2 years before eruption

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/djwudi/6194994/">djwudi</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">cc</a>

photo credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/penmachine/4618128782/">Derek K. Miller</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">cc</a>

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