Sunday, June 29, 2014

BUS STORY # 399 (Train Game)

ABQ RIDE commuter shuttle at the Rail Runner station at The Journal Center.  Downloaded from the New Mexico Rail Runner Express's Photos. by busboy4
ABQ RIDE commuter shuttle at the Rail Runner station at The Journal Center. Downloaded from the New Mexico Rail Runner Express's Facebook Timeline Photos.

We went up to Santa Fe at the end of January to support the Alzheimer’s Association’s lobbying effort to persuade the state legislature to fully fund the state plan for Alzheimer’s.

Neither of us had been to the state capitol building, never mind called on our particular senator and representative during a legislative session. Both were quite an experience.

We took the Rail Runner.

It’s a sweet deal. Our tickets were $7.00 apiece after the dollar discount for ordering online, and another dollar discount for being old guys -- excuse me, Senior Citizens. That ticket includes free bus fare in both Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

We took the 11 directly to the Albuquerque Transit Center where we caught the train north. In Santa Fe, in addition to the bus system, there is a free shuttle from the depot to different areas around the downtown. The capitol building is one of those stops.

After business was taken care of, we had lunch, then made the rounds of our favorite places before heading back to the Santa Fe Depot.

Once we were back on the train, we started playing cards to pass the time.

When the conductor came by to check our tickets, he asked us what we were playing. That got us into a discussion of card games and board games, then games played with grandchildren. We traded our experiences of playing a familiar game made unfamiliar by an alternate set of rules our grandchildren had devised all by themselves.

He told us he’s getting his grandchildren hooked on Mexican Train. He said the toughest part was getting them used to the idea that a game could be played by more than one person at a time, on a table and not on a screen, and unaccompanied by beeps and boops and bells and whistles. When they’re at Grampa’s house, they play Grampa’s games.

His real love is chess, he confided. The kids just aren’t ready for chess yet. But there is this passenger, an older woman, who does play chess. Somewhere along the line, she brought a magnetic travel chessboard with her one trip, and they began playing.

They developed a pattern. The game stopped when she reached her stop, and he kept the chessboard with the magnetized figures in place until her return trip home.

One night, there was an emergency on the train, and he hurriedly put the board in a compartment before attending to business. Long story short, he lost the board. He not only could not recall which compartment he’d put it in, he couldn’t even remember the number of the car.

Fortunately, one of the cleaning crews had saved it, and he got it back. But they had to start a new game, he laughed. He told us he expected to see her on one of the runs tonight.

He also told us she was planning to retire soon. We asked what he would do without his chess partner. He thought maybe, just maybe, she’d keep riding anyway, for the game.

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