My father worked for Union Pacific. I remember visiting the station when I was a small child. I can recall the dim lighting, the marble floor, the smell of aging things. B— rightly loves trains. With a day with little to do and only two children I cooked up the idea to take the public mass transit rail into the Capitol of Jell-O.
I picked up the box of macarons that I'd ordered from my poetry buddy Jack, whose husband Brian is THE best cookie chef in Happy Towne, and L— and B— and I munched on those delightful confections all the way to the Capitol.
This is where the importance of connections comes in. You see, L—'s uncle owns one of the oldest, most renown grills in the city. He's also opened up a hot dog shop a couple of doors down, and as it was dinner time I thought hot dogs sounded like the perfect sin to follow the macarons. Unfortunately, the shop's hours didn't wait for us to arrive. L— wanted to say hello to her uncle before we left, and when he kindly offered us dinner at the grill instead. This is no small treat. Dinner entres average $25. L— and B— both had grilled cheese sandwiches and I chose the French dip. The grill has my recommendation.
Next, as the mountains were too far away, we wandered to a lovely building a couple of blocks away.
Where we found a litter of wild kittens living in the hedge along the outer walls. This is as close as they'd let us get.
And then B— found water.
I told him that I knew a little girl who'd been equally fascinated with the fountains around that building. When she was about his age she'd discovered that people threw money into the water, large quantities of money. That little girl liked money, and since the people didn't come back for what they'd thrown in the little girl decided to go fishing for what she could get. She loaded up wet handfuls of change in each of the front pockets of her jeans until they bulged and water ran down to her ankles. It was about that time that a nice older woman, who looked something like a grandma but with a name tag, came over and filled the little girl in on a secret. "We clean out that money and give it to a children's hospital to help little ones who are sick." The grandma with the name tag gave her a squeeze and then walked away. The guilt set in, at least half way. The little girl commenced to empty one of her pockets back into the fountain. She walked around the grounds with her parents with one pant leg dripping for the rest of the day. I've never known why her parents didn't notice to say anything, but I'm certain if they had she would have been reminded that thieves and liars go to hell.
None of my children are going to hell.
Then we wandered up this ramp to a huge room where we listened to a recording of the words of Jesus Christ. B— told me he wanted me to take two pictures of him with the statue, and that before I took the second I needed to let him know it was the second. This would be that picture.
Then we wandered to another building where L— has another relative on display. This guy is the architect for that big building next to the fountain. He is also her fourth great grandpa. L— is fairly proud of this connection. She should be. We examined a large model of the building, and an East Indian woman asked me questions about the different rooms and what happens inside. There were plenty of people around with name tags on, but I guess my answers were good enough because no one butted in to set me straight. It was kind of one of the coolest things ever.
I asked B— how all of this stuff made him feel. He said, "It's like Jesus lives here, and I feel like he wants me to come inside His temple and to be a member of His church." The funny thing is, all doubts and skepticism aside, I feel the same way.