There Must Be Magic

By GirlWithACamera

Beauty and Regret / Watch Out for Trains

It was a day of low probability events. But let me start at the beginning. We had temps in the 20s in the morning, and I decided to take two of my osteospermum blooms along outside to make some frozen bubbles featuring them.

The blooms did not fare so well in the end, but they made a lovely subject. I blew my bubbles on and around them, and eventually a few petals fell off. My bubble mix pretty much sucked, it was all sticky and glompy and messy, but I got some good colors on top. 

The yellow is an accidental reflection of our house, which was behind me. I thought this one ended up looking like a paperweight. The purple osteospermum was on top, and the white one was below my bubble; I think that is it, reflected onto the dark spot at the bottom. 

The petal drop seemed especially poignant to me: a suggestion of both beauty and regret, and of course, loss. Of those once beautiful and now imperfect things, I ask these simple questions that so many poets have asked before me: How can you look at it? How can you NOT?

So that was the start of my day. For lunch, we had plans to drive to Altoona to meet my mother-in-law. My husband planned to treat "us two girls" to a Red Lobster meal for Valentine's Day. We had a tiny gift bag for her, a card, good wishes.

But when we arrived at the Red Lobster around 1 p.m., we discovered my mother-in-law standing by her car, very upset. She had been shopping at another shop in the same complex; when she backed her car up, she must have run over the median, or something. For her whole exhaust and muffler were scrunched up under the car, and sort of tucked under the rear left wheel in such a manner that the car could not be moved.

So she called OnStar, and they called her car garage for us; he was not able to send anyone, or a rollback, at the time. He suggested she call Triple A. None of us have cell phones, but the kind lady who seats people in the restaurant loaned us hers to call them. 

Suddenly, screaming broke out in the ladies' room and by the front door; a lady with disabilities was having a bad day, apparently, or a bad moment. Some other lady who was with her escorted her outside. My husband walked to another room trying to talk and hear on the cell phone. Finally, he got through to Triple A, who called a tow truck.

We got a table and had a meal, but it wasn't at all the festive event we had planned/hoped for it to be. In fact, the situation was sort of grim, to be honest. My mother-in-law only ordered a root beer. She was so upset. My husband ordered something small. I myself was starving, and ordered three kinds of shrimp and a baked potato with everything. (Somehow, one of my ninja skills is to still be able to eat in adversity; who knew?)

The waitress, seeing my mother-in-law's state, invited her to have a salad, on the house. Lois accepted, and picked a little at the food that arrived. I polished off two of my kinds of shrimp (Walt's and that new flavor, crispy salt and vinegar), demolished my baked potato, and took my linguine home for later.

Just as the waitress brought the check, the tow truck arrived. My mother-in-law insisted on picking up the tab, the tow truck driver managed to strap the exhaust back up a bit so he could drive it onto the rollback, and my husband sort of . . . lifted . . . her up into the cab. 

We hugged her and waved farewell, as the tow truck driver explained that since she had the highest level of membership for Triple A, her first 100 miles of towing was free! Where to, Ma'am!? The garage, and then home!

By 2:30, everything was settled, and my husband and I were shopping in the best Dollar Tree in central Pennsylvania. I bought a bunch of little trays and more asparagus (they had it on the shelf!), and some decorative fans that I wanted to use for my frozen bubbles. You will probably get to see one of those shots tomorrow!

We finished our shopping and hopped in the car, heading for Plummer's Hollow, which is a local mountain reserve near Tyrone. We walked up the hill and I called my husband a hero for the day, because he was the one who had made the phone calls, talked to the tow driver, arranged things. My only role had been to stay with Lois and keep her calm.

There are train tracks that run by the river there, and they were just loaded with trains at this time of day. We heard and saw a train as we arrived, and I got some nice shots of it. There's one in the extras. He blew the whistle for us, and we stood well back and waved. My father was a railroading man; I will NEVER grow tired of trains.

And so we walked up the hollow and admired the water, which had reflections of gold and blue on top, and the trees, some of which had fallen and had to be removed during recent winds, I guess. But when we got back DOWN the hollow, our passage was blocked, by a train. We couldn't get back to our car!

We had a ridiculous conversation about whether we should try to climb BETWEEN the cars of the stopped train or go UNDER one. Now, this seemed dicey and dangerous and stupid to me. So eventually, we just walked to the end of the train, which only actually took a few minutes. The whole place, apparently, is just SWARMING with trains, so be ye warned!

We got home safely and called Lois. The tow driver had treated her well, the car was in the shop, and she was home. She was a little flipped out by the whole thing, but she is fine and we were fine. So I guess all's well that ends well! What a day!

I have two soundtrack songs. First is Stevie Nicks, with Beauty and the Beast, from 1983. Second is Johnny Cash, with Orange Blossom Special, live from San Quentin. Hey, lookie yonder comin', comin' down that railroad track. . . .

As always, here is a link to my canonical list of frozen bubbles tips.

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