Wednesday, October 13, 2021

River Deep, Mountain High

Started off a gloomy morning with breakfast and To Tell the Truth. Anne Meara and Nipsey Russell joined Peggy Cass and Bill Cullen to figure out which of three men was a professional dog sled musher. I said one, because he was so darn funny. Everyone else said three, who knew all the technical terms for the sport...and yeah, they were right. The next contestant was more sober - he was an expert on the Lusitania, one of the most famous ship wrecks ever. I said three, but the others got the very knowledgeable number two right. 

Did dishes, made the bed, and gathered anything else I needed for the trip while What's My Line was on. No one got close to the first contestant, who had a plastic card used for parking tickets in Tokyo. The plastic could be attached to the side mirror so the owner would have to pay their ticket. Soupy Sales guessed Mystery Guest Jerry Orbach pretty quickly. Today, he's best known for his long run as one of the cops in the original Law & Order. In 1972, he was a Broadway star who was just finishing his run in the long-running hit musical Promises, Promises. I thought the lady who was a co-owner of the New York Jets at the time was really interesting (and they didn't close to guess what she did, either).

Jodie picked me up shortly after the show ended. There was no traffic going to Cherry Hill, and we got there with plenty of hear from a lady stepping off the platform that NJ Transit just canceled the 9:28. Checking my cell phone revealed the early morning trains had mechanical problems and were also canceled. We ended up driving right back home.

I ultimately decided to go with my first idea and took an Uber to 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. The driver was there four minutes after I went on the app. He was a cheerful older man with a thick white beard who happily told me stories of what 30th Street was like when he was younger. We hit a little traffic in downtown Philly, but still arrived at the station within 20 minutes. 

Thank heavens that was the worst that happened all day. I love 30th Street Station. It's a beautiful old Art Deco barn that more closely resembles one of the vintage hotels in Philly than a train station. I feel more elegant walking through there. While Wendy's, Au Bon Pain, Jersey Mike's, and the gift shop bordering the main hall remain open, anything bordering Market Street has closed. Looks like they might be doing remodeling down there. I opted to buy a bottle of water and a few birthday presents for Lauren from the gift shop instead. 

(Oh, and incidentally, the 11 AM Transit train arrived on time. I'm guessing they must have cleared up the mechanical problems shortly after the 9:28 was canceled.)

The train to New York left right on time and pulled in a minute early. It was full to the gills with commuters on their way to Newark, New York, and Boston. I slid in next to a young man who slept the entire trip.

Got off at Penn Station, but the train to Albany left from Moynihan Station. Moynihan is New York's newest train station, carved out of a former post office with lots of marble and glass. It opened to the public on New Year's Day...which means it's lovely and also Art Deco-inspired, but there's not much there. The food court and newsstand haven't opened yet. I joined a long line for the bathroom, then hit the only open Starbucks for a sandwich and Vanilla Bean Mini Scones. 

There's also no place to sit and eat at Moynihan yet. I hid behind one of the wide plaster pillars and ate my lunch while watching travelers stroll by with their colorful luggage. Admired the pink-lit vaulted glass ceiling showing a gloomy gray day until I got bored with standing. Sat and read The Curse of the Pharaohs in the wood-paneled waiting area until I heard the announcement for the train to Albany. 

The Lake Shore Limited was full until we hit the New York suburbs. An older businesswoman took the seat next to me. By the time we were held up due to congestion in Poughkeepsie, I had the seat to myself. Despite the conductor's claim that we were sold out, the car was only half-full. 

I love the view going to Albany. Going to New York, you don't see much besides graffiti and New Jersey suburbs. Upstate New York is all shining lakes, airy suspension bridges, sprawling old mansions, crumbling factories, cozy lighthouses and bobbing small fishing boats. The Adirondacks provide a majestic green backdrop rising behind the silken ripples of the Hudson. I colored in my old Care Bears coloring book, worked on a crossword puzzle, watched Match Game on my phone, and listened to music while admiring the scenery.

Lauren met me when the train rolled into the station 8 minutes late. When her parents picked her up last month, her dad noticed a new bar and grill so close to the station, we were able to walk there in two seconds. It's carved out of a former Victorian-era fire house, with a heavy bar, small tables, and a couple of bar flies watching ESPN discuss Sunday's NFL games. I caught her up with everything that went on between our trips, including all the trouble at work and with my family, while we waited for our cheeseburgers and onion rings. 

She drove me home across the darkened Albany landscape, listening to a Perfect Strangers podcast on the way. When we got in, we gave Mrs. Miller her cheeseburger and Mr. Miller his bacon cheeseburger and enjoyed our dinner while I discussed my journey and they talked about upcoming changes in Social Security. 

Finished the night online in Lauren's room, at the vintage red enamel and chrome table her family had for years that she uses as a desk. Since I missed the Buzzr Match Game showings today, I watched a few more '73 episodes. In one episode, Gene Rayburn sports a green and red plaid suit that's so hideous, even the panelists make fun of it. (Comedian Jack Carter says it looks like a "station break in Poland.") In another, Gene crawls across the floor to demonstrate a question about little people. The week Patti Deustch debuted, Gene's quip about getting her answer left her very flustered. Jack Klugman appeared with his wife Brett Somers in another great week. While Mama "Cass" Elliot wants to take a short nap, Jack takes off when he gets annoyed with a question.

Here's more of the best of Match Game's early years, for your enjoyment!

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