This morning (March 17) we have been busy packing – we were scheduled to return from our Florida winter on the March 31 auto train but with the urging of our five very caring children and concerns about the coronavirus, we have moved up our departure. Fortunately we were able to get space on the March 18 auto train. Now we are keeping our fingers crossed that the train does not get cancelled. Two years ago , just as we were closing up our condo and heading to the train station in Sanford – two plus hours away – we got a robo call from Am track that the train was cancelled. There was no explanation. We decided to drive. When we were close to entering into Georgia we got another Am track call, this time from a human being, offering us tickets on the train two weeks later. We said no thank you and continued on our way. We survived the trip just fine but we do not wish to repeat the drive and have got our fingers crossed that the March 18 train, with the appropriate sanitary precautions in this time of coronavirus, will be carrying us home.
We realize that the train station, where if the train is full, could have as many as seven hundred of our contemporaries, many probably with comprised immune systems. It has the potential to be a hotbed of germs. You have to arrive two hours early at a minimum. We plan to be there early to check in and then to do the rest of our waiting outside in the fresh air. Maybe everybody else has that same plan. We will find out.
Packing done we decided to head to the golf course. Originally we had a bridge and dinner date today scheduled with old friends. They understood when we called it off. Last Saturday night we did join some friends for dinner – but that was last Saturday. Each day the virus updates get more fearful, golfing in the fresh air on a very beautiful day was a nice option. And both Jerry and I played “well” so that made it even more fun.
We headed back to the condo for a dinner of scrambled eggs and bacon with toast and apple slices and carrot sticks and toast – this was a meal to clean out the frig and it was actually quite yummy. We took ourselves to bed early because there would be no time in the morning for a leisurely wakeup. We had to be on the road by 11 to make it to the auto train on time and we had to allow time to swing by the rental office to drop off keys.
The car trip went by smoothly and we got to Sanford in the two hours and twenty minutes that GPS had forecast. It is a bit of a stress when driving to the auto train. If you are late they will not take your car- an understandable but harsh rule. It could be weeks before there is space available on another train. Last year there was an accident on 95 and that section of the road was closed down. With blind faith in GPS we got off 95 and headed into unknown territory. It was scary but we just made it to Sanford before the deadline.
Now Jerry and I are sitting in our roomette. The sleeper section of the train is full. We understand there are plenty of seats in coach. We ate dinner in the roomette as did most folks. Checking in and boarding the train was an interesting experience. There was not the usual buzz and hum of excitement. Some people were very conscientious about maintaining social distancing, others not so much. Some looked worried and some very solemn. Some wore masks.
Our children and grandchildren have been checking in as we head home. Lilly, whose job allows for her to work remotely was taking a break and texted that she was about to make some date banana bread. Just the thought of it made my mouth water – I texted her asking for a picture of the finished product. Actually getting a piece to eat would be best but I will enjoy the picture.
These are scary times. So much is unknown. Jerry and I and our contemporary friends are in the most at risk age group. When will the virus slow down? Are we taking the necessary precautions? It is important to focus on the precautions but equally as important to go on living, to be evermore aware of the caring and thoughtfulness of others.