I had responded to Mary that I hope Tony (big mouth) turned in early. She responded:
He did. I had an interesting companion after that , a cook from Jamaica who was traveling home from a job in Maine. Nice man. The lamb shanks were delicious. We had mechanical problems that shut off power for about 15 minutes just south of DC but all is well now. I'm going to read for awhile and maybe be rocked to sleep. I' ll try to get a picture of the bed made up but it's hard when you're so close. I don't think you'd be comfortable in roomette - I think your feet might touch the wall. The dining car wasn't bad but when the guy sat beside me, it was very close. I'm lying on the bed now- when i put on my nightgown I'll be happy.
About her dinner, Mary writes: Here's dinner- lamb shanks with a wine and beer sauce was the special and it was very good. My companion had roast chicken which looked good and he said it was. It's plastic dishes and paper tablecloths but real silverware (I mean metal, not plastic). The servers were very nice if a little harried due to the power outage. Had a nice chat with the chef too.
Mary: A little blurry but this is the dining car- it was full when I got there. It's open to anyone but free for people in the sleepers.
Mary: My sink, which folds down out of the wall.
And here's my toilet. It has a lid and is below the sink at an angle I guess to save space. It's close but it works fine with no smell.
The toilet seat looks crooked, but that's the "angle" Mary is talking about.
And now, for the botany. Mary writes: I'm not sure where we are, south of Jacksonville, and for the last hour or so I've been seeing trees with what I think are red berries. We're going too fast to get a picture. Any idea what they might be?
I forwarded this to Amy, long-time Florida resident, who responded: She may be looking at royal poincianas if they have a high crown, feathery leaf structure, and more orangish flowers.
So Mary, here's a Royal Poinciana... is this what you're seeing?
And now it's morning and Mary writes:
I didn't sleep much last night but I enjoyed just lying there listening to the train noises. I had a nice breakfast of scrambled eggs, cinnamon toast, and chicken sausage. My seat mates were a mother and her grown son and another woman. The mother was desperate for a cigarette since it can be hours between stops. I'm so glad I don't smoke anymore. They left and I had a really nice talk with the other woman. She's a hospice aide, originally from Honduras and now in New York. She seemed so compassionate, loves her job and takes her role in people's last days very seriously. She wants to write a book about nursing homes and I hope she does. Now I'm back in my room, the bed is up and my chairs are back and I'm enjoying the scenery.
Late-Breaking News: Amy gets an A in Botany -- I had sent Mary this photo of the tree, and she responded THAT'S IT!