||[Feb. 14th, 2009|12:09 pm]
Yesterday was butterandjelly's birthday. This was a bit embarrassing. You see, we had given her an IOU birthday present last year - the promise of taking her to a wine event or a wine class.
It's hard to fathom that three people's schedules can be so complicated that no amenable date can be coordinated for a whole year. But here it was, coming up on her birthday again, and the IOU was still outstanding.
Fortunately, Karla learned about the Wine Train. And we were definitely in for that.
The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad runs along the old Ohio canal through Cuyahoga National Park. The entire train staff is volunteers, giving their time to the Park for the enjoyment of others. And they do special events, like their wine tasting trips. Last night was French Wines, in salute to Valentine's Day and romance.
We boarded the train just before 7. I'm sure in the summer the ride is quite scenic, but of course it was dead dark by the time we got started. Yet, even in the darkness, there was something elegant and sensual about drinking wine on a moving train. Cat Valente has it right in Palimpsest: there's something magical about trains. It was a lovely trip, shared with a carful of strangers who became increasingly gregarious as the wine loosened our spirits, but without any sorts of obnoxiousness or embarrassing incidents.
(There was one funny moment when I was stopped short in mid-sentence by the laugh of one woman. And then stopped short again by her laugh, with a quizzical look on my face. Karla gave me an admonishing look. "She's just having fun." "It's not that," I answered. "It's that her laugh sounds just like Gertie's in Oklahoma!" Karla almost fell off her seat laughing because it was true.)
The trip was just over two hours and completely delightful. And as we were getting ready to depart the train, we mentioned to one of the stewards that it was Karla's birthday.
Yes, we did. We got a whole train car full of slightly tipsy people to sing an enthusiastic and totally offkey version of Happy Birthday to her.
We went to a spectacularly good dinner (with spectacularly bad service) at Delmonico's afterward, but really, the train and the singing is what I will remember of the day.
Happy birthday, Karla!!!