The Holiday Train Trip

Day 8 & 9 - Grandma Carma

Morning sounds early morning snoring and we hear that there is 3rd cal for breakfast in the diner car. Half awake I look over and my sister Katy agrees with just a nod that we should get up and walk down the moving train to grab a bite. We had lunch before and we are not excited about the breakfast, more like we need some food since we will basically starve  and be subjected to all bread things that I can't eat.   Kicking the push button on the car door  we enter into the observation cars th which leads into the diner car. Welcomed by the waiter we are seated with a older lady in her 60's. " Good Morning" we all say silently as well just about woke up. It is about 7am and it mush be about 5am California time. Looking over the menu we decided on the omelette. It is the only thing that say made to order so we decide on the closest to real food as we can eat. We get to know the lady as we learn she is taking the train to Virginia to visit her Fiancé. She reconnected with him recently and they are getting married. "So it is still possible?", I say sarcastically. 'Yup It is still possible" she replies as we all giggle. Happy to get to know her I ask " And what was your name again??" " Betsy", she smiles. " A real live Betsy" I reply. " You are my first!" We all giggle and talk some more. We wish her a safe trip and congratulations on her engagement as we head back to our coach seats.  

A few hours more we end up at Chicago Union Station. The day before I requested a car from #getaround to drive up to Decatur, IL to see Grandma Carma. Katy's mother Michelle's mom and her Aunt Sheila. Walking towards the car in the cold we decide to grab a bite and we pop into Vicenzo's where they have a full 10 inch pie Gluten free. Katy and I order a pizza each and a fresh start salad. We are craving veggies so bad we love the eat eat every last lettuce leaf on our plates now. Lucky to be blessed with Salad and veggies in Cali. From being on the road not many veggies at restaurants. Scarfing down my delicious Cobb Salad I walk down the street to grab the car in the outdoor parking spot on North May Street. A old school Lincoln. stacked and ready for business. We almost rented the Honda but did not want to get blown away if a wind or storm comes. I felt safe in this car. 

I go to get Katy and we are off for 2 hour 30 minute drive to Decatur from Chicago. Downing a couple road coffees we make it and her Grandma and Sheila are happy to see us. Welcomed us in and we caught up over some of Grandma Carma's Homeade Vegetable soup. Yes, I did eat it all it was HOMEMADE. You can't beat that on the road. Slowly tiring we made our couches with our sheets. My sister in the large TV room with the fireplace all cozy and me in the next very open and a couch to fit my size. Firm and warm I passed out. 


Morning arrives in Decaur, IL, Grandma Carma mentions she would like to make us breakfast, we decide we would treat her to a homemade breakfast made by us. She happily agrees as she goes to get ready. Katy and I head out the the local Kroger's and go searching for what we will make for her. Deciding on French toast we search and find some gluten free Cinnamon Raisin Bread from Rudi's in the frozen section of the market. Adding some local farm eggs and my goat milk from Meyenberg, we buy some veggies we decide to make her a hash. We also find in the gourmet organic aisle that there is a low acid coffee. 

It turns out that Katy and I make a great team in the kitchen. The French toast ingredients mixed and the bread drenched and sizzling on the pan, my sister chops and washes all the spinach and veg. I make some sweet potato mash and and chop and grill off some left over ham her grandma made the previous day. I add some Brussels sprouts and onions for a winter centric hash. Katy has decorated all the French toasts with berries and real maple syrup. We use coconut oil to cook and make a healthy meal for her Grandmother and Aunt.  As Grandma begins to pour her coffee Katy mentions it might be extra healthy for her to add coconut oil to her cup of joe. "Well ok I'l try it" and she is tickled as she says " Oh this make my lips all slippery". If you hear her at it is one of the sweetest moments. I add my goat milk to my coffee and we sit down for a meal at the dining room area just outside of the kitchen around the corner from the stove. 

Chatting and talking about how Katy and her mom were and many stories more Katy goes outside to talk to her aunt. It is just me and Carma and as I heard before her husband and her were married for 53 years. " So where did you and your husband meet?" " It was a blind date some friends invited her out and she said "why sure." "Oh he was in the service and also played baseball, but we met in Honolulu , Hawaii and were soon married in a little chapel at Pearl Harbor." I ask if it was before the bombing she says it was after. There is a photography of James McClung in his navy uniform stepping out of the dug out and has his baseball bat. I was very curious how that came to be, " Well he played for the Navy and the Cardinals signed him after scouting and in the off season he worked at Caterpillar all the way til he retired. I can see how happy she was talking about him and those times. A very large and handsome guy I bet you they just had a blast. She mentions that the Dimaggio brothers played an exhibition game against her husband and this one time they were hanging out with Don Larson at the Admiral's dinner at a table and he stuck his hand up a skirt of a waitress. She said in a cautious laugh, " Oh I told my husband I don't think I'd like to I hang out withy Don Larson anymore." I about fell off of my seat laughing. So interesting to hear the stories and happy for her to tell them. 

Katy returning mentions we should go take grandma out for the day and give her aunt a break to do her own thing with errands and rest. My sister suggest ' Sisters' with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Well let me tell you we thought we were breaking some sort of rule after the film started cause there was all sex, drugs and all sorts of language flying out. I look over and her grandmother is smiling just sitting next to her granddaughter enjoying the moment" After the movie we begin to walk out and ask her how she liked it. She tells us that it was not her kind of movie but she liked it. " I've heard a couple of those words before."  As we walk out we see that there are many grandmothers her age and that we were not far from right bringing her grandma to this out there chick flick. I recommend it. It was pretty funny.

Back at the house Katy's Aunt tells us she would like to buy us dinner at the Red Lobster. We head there and are seated. I ask for menu that has gluten free options. the hostess disappears and returns with a big blue blinder with excellent sheets in it mentioning all nutritional facts and allergen info. I scan and compare the list with the menu, and the only thing I can pick out that I can eat is the snow crab legs. Steamed. I was going to get some lobsters but about every menu item has soy, dairy and wheat. I mean come on. Soy is in everything even the lobster boil. I ordered a shrim cocktail and a Salmon salad. the Salmon was on point with the Crispy exterior and the flaky inside. As we all enjoy our meal Grandma and I get some orang peel tea to settle us up. The cold drops and sprinkling a bit we drive home and get into bed. A full day with Grandma Carma and I know she enjoyed every moment. Even the movie.

robert karnsComment