The symptoms seemed to show up Bam! out of nowhere and increased as the evening went by. My mind was instantly in a turmoil - "What about tomorrow? What will we do? What *should* we do?" I drank water. And more water. The rest went to bed figuring tomorrow would end up being an adventure without mom. Meanwhile, I literally sat in the bathroom reading a book until after midnight. It was the only halfway comfortable thing to do! Finally I slept.
I am a "why-would-God-do-this, if-I-make-this-decision-and-this-happens-I-probably-should-have..." kind of girl. We won't go into that. We'll just say waking up in the morning and feeling much better but needing to make a decision before 6 a.m. wasn't easy! I wanted Chris to just tell me what to do. He didn't want to. Finally he kindly explained, "If I was you, I would go. If I felt horrible later on, then I would feel horrible and make the best of it. If you go and feel horrible later on, the whole day will be ruined because you'll be sure you did the wrong thing."
It turned out to be about the worst possible day to choose for a train ride at Cass Railroad. It was cool and rainy when we left, but the forecast promised clearing by noon. Well, it didn't clear. And the mom of the family had been so immersed in her decision and then frantically getting out the door on time that she failed to consider the possiblities and everyone had worn.....jackets. Her daughters had grabbed two throw blankets to use in the van (cause when you leave the house at 6:15 you feel like wrapping up!) but winter coats and gloves and leggings and boots wouldn't have felt......stuffy, if you know what I mean!
There are two choices of train rides at Cass, one is a longer trip all the way to the top, the other is a shorter ride to the halfway point. We bought tickets for the 4 hour trip all the way to the top and back down again. The puffing clouds of smoke and the long, sad whistle and the creaking, clacking cars were awesome. The scenery was fantastic and we were entertained and taken care of by fellow passengers who shared their big, warm blanket. But it got colder. And then it started misting. Four hours in chilly, damp weather with jackets and two throw blankets is just a really long time, people!
The train made several stops, one mid-way and one at the top. The views at the top were blocked out by fog and rain and I think we would have all been fine had the Engineer decided to turn right around and head straight back down! Someone told us the temperature can drop by 10-15 degrees from the bottom to the top and, supposedly, it was 35 degrees at the top that day! Jackets anybody? We were more than happy to be on the downward trip and to discover the train traveled a bit faster down than up. Our happines was cut short, however, when we made the midway stop and they announced it would be a TWENTY-FIVE minute stop!!
Now at this mid-way point another train was stopped, the one taking the shorter ride to the halfway point. The men in our group decided at this point that a ticket was a ticket and when, about 15 minutes after we arrrived, the train for the shorter ride blew it's whistle announcing it's departure back down the mountain, we quietly climbed aboard! We didn't quite fit in with these people who were still looking at the scenery and the train with awed expressions after only 1/2 an hour on board, but we didn't quite care at that point. We had to wonder if our blanket sharing seat mates did a search for the lost Mennonite group when departure time came but we didn't care too much about that either! :)
All in all it was quite an adventure. It will certainly be remembered and talked about, possibly more than any sun-shiny, beautiful day might have been!