Despite long delay, train trip worth the ticket

Despite long delay, train trip worth the ticket by Bob Karolevitz Boston (delayed): We came to this Massachusetts capital city by Amtrak from Washington, DC. We saw trash and graffiti galore, but it was fast and totally unlike our train trip from Omaha to Chicago.

On that one we came to the Nebraska metropolis a day early so we would be on time for the 5:30 a.m. Amtrack schedule.

Ha! We sat there for six-and-one-half hours waiting for the train to arrive. Needless to say, we missed our Washington connections in Chicago, where we were �treated� to an over-night stay in a second-rate hotel in downtown Windy City by the railroad company.

More than that, we lost

our bedroom accommodations which Phyllis had painstakingly arranged so I wouldn�t have to crawl into the upper berth. Despite our problems, we finally made it to Washington, DC, and the first of our planned stops (see last week�s column).

In Bean Town we were hosted ever so generously by my cousin, Frank Schulte, his wife Anne and their two golden retrievers, Beau and Sam. (Beau carried the friendliness too far as he ransacked one of our suitcases and scattered our underwear hither and yon.)

Frank (we knew him as Francis when he went to Mission Hill High School) is really my relative, but Phyllis knows him better than I do because she sang with him when they were both students in our little town.

It was nostalgia time for them � and I heard names

and incidents which I had never known before. It was fun sitting in on their discussions like a quiet little mouse. I hardly contributed anything.

But there was far more to add to our Boston trip besides reminicenses!

We overdosed on lobster and assorted seafoods. We toured Plymouth and Salem where we stared at �the rock� again and learned more about witches than we ever really wanted to know.

We saw Fenway Park where the Boston Red Sox hold forth, and we visited Gillette Stadium in Foxboro where the New England Patriots play. (They were both out of town, but I used the occasion to tout Adam Vinatieri, the South Dakota kid, whose last-minute field goals brought Super Bowl Championships to Massachusetts.)

Kurt Schulte, Frank�s son, gave us a most enjoyable tour of Boston Harbor in his state-of-the-art boat. And we had another water excursion in World War II Ducks which is a major tourist attraction there.

We skipped the Cheers bar, Mary Baker Eddy�s mother church and the Bunker Hill monument this time because we�d been there before; but we took in the John F. Kennedy Library, a must-see in this politically-minded state.

Oh, yes, and there was snobbery, too. On one of our Boston visits, we passed an exclusive club where, a guide told us, there was once a fire on the premises. When the fire fighters came to the front door, they were refused admittance. They had to go around to the servants� entrance to get in.

The narrow streets and the bumper-to-bumper traffic which the Bostonians take for granted were hard for us open-space prairie dwellers to adjust to ��but then so was the six-and-one-half-hour wait in the Omaha Amtrak station.

Incidentally, Frank � who is really a South Dakota success story � studies at the New England Conservatory of Music after Seabee service in World War II and then stayed on in Boston where he sang in the city�s largest hotels and churches.

But he didn�t sing for Phyllis this time. Instead, he played a tape featuring him and Anne accompanying him on the organ.

It brought tears to my wife�s eyes, and I said to myself: �This, in itself, was worth the trip!�

� 2004 Robert F. Karolevitz

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