Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Amtrak riding buddy.

I am not overly fond of flying.  In fact for years I refused to get on a plane. I did some group therapy and have managed to get on planes either with Valium or Bourbon. I rode Amtrak for a few house buying trips when we were transferred.  Marty and Erik would put me on the train then fly to the destination, and pick me when I rolled in. 

In January 1982 we were transferred back to Louisville KY.  Chicago was as close as I could to get to Louisville by train.  Marty arranged for someone working for him to pick me up and bring me Louisville to buy a house  (the driver was visiting family in Chicago.)  So I did not have to fly.

When we got to the station in Martinez all the passengers were all agog.  Pointing, whispering, asking for autographs.  I looked at the man and I had no idea who he was.  The friend who drove me to the station said it's John Madden.  The link is for those like me at the time who have no idea who he is.  It was patiently explained to me by Ann telling me to look at his ring, a huge Super Bowl ring.  He also was a local radio commentator and did commentary on pro football games.  I rarely do pro sports.  And only when the local teams are in playoffs.  The ring was won before I moved to California.

Marty and I are more about University of Kentucky basketball.  Go CATS!!!

John and I have one thing in common, we do not like to fly.  This was before his fancy bus days.  He rode the train and then had drivers if he couldn't get to his final destination by train. There was also a golf pro (no idea what his name was, a minor pro) who wouldn't fly after he was ditched in a lake while in the military.  And then there was me.

John Madden is a lovely down to earth man.  He got on the train with an entourage and I thought fancy star, will be a pain.  Wrong.  Every time he walked through the cars he spoke to me, if he saw me in the dining car he spoke. In the bar car we had conversations.  We talked about me buying a house, we talked about the scenery. We talked about the golf pro in the lake.  We chatted for 2000 miles.  It didn't matter that I knew nothing about sports.  He can talk about lots of other things.  It was a lovely cross country trip.

I am sure he doesn't remember me, he met lots of people in his train riding days.  But I will never forget meeting him.  He was fun, he was just a guy, he didn't act like a super star, he didn't hog the conversation.  And that attitude makes him a Super Star in my book.

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