5. Afternoon

Friday, 6/8/34

We’ll be in Canton soon. It’s marked in big type on the time table, but it isn’t a very big town. But something happens at Canton!

First, look at the map in the timetable. See Canton? Then look just a little above it and you’ll find Sioux Falls. Well, a train is going to leave Sioux Falls pretty soon for Canton. When you get there, it will be standing on another track. Then they’ll take off both the engines, and fuss and flutter around for a little bit. They’ll move cars up the track and down the track and all over the place. And when they get through, what do you think?

Your train will be longer by one or two or three cars.

On the very end of the train will be a new kind of car. It’s divided into three parts: a kitchen, a dining room, and an observation room with big easy chairs, magazines, and with the sides all windows. The end is open, and if the day isn’t too dusty you can go on the back and sit in the open air on one of the chairs. Sometimes it’s too dusty and smoky, and the dust gets into your eyes.

When the train is out of Canton a few minutes, you may go back through the train and go into the observation car. But before you go, see that your things are all put away, and take your purse along with you. And remember the name or the number of your car so you can find your way back. Then go on to the back of the train. You may walk through a couple of cars before you come to the right one. But keep right on till you are at the end. Then you can use the easy chairs, the magazines or anything you want to. There may be even a writing stand with special stationery where you can write letters.

This car is only for Pullman passengers, and coach passengers up near the engine are not allowed to come back. No one will bother you at all, because you know the conductor, and your ticket lets you go about where you please.

I think you’ll like sitting next to the big glass windows in one of the big easy chairs.

But before you get to Canton, you may be a little tired of sitting in the same place all the time. Well, even the nicest chairs and sofas get tiresome if one sits in them all day long. So the next time your porter goes by, just ask him for a pillow. Yes, just like that — “Porter, may I have a pillow please?” — there’s all you need to say. Then, he’ll get you a fresh soft pillow with a clean white pillowslip. You can drop your head on it, if you wish, and get in some sleep. Or just shut one eye and look with the other. That’s the way I always do, anyway.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you. Don’t worry about getting dinner. It’s all taken care of. Along about five thirty when you’ve passed Rock Valley or Hull, a white-jacketed steward will come through the car and call First Call for Dinner… First Call for Dinner. Then you get out the next envelope and see what it says. Your dinner is all ready and waiting for you, and it’s even all paid for. You don’t need to do a thing but go back and get it. But the letter will tell you all about it. But don’t open till you’re getting along toward dinnertime (perhaps you call it suppertime. Well it’s all the same, so who cares?)

So there you go, all through the afternoon.

Previous: Lunch in Mitchell | Next: Time to Eat


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