ALBERTA BOUND, ALBERTA BOUND …
… It’s good to be Alberta Bound. The train crossed into Alberta sometime last night and we moved our clocks back another hour. We are now living on ‘train time.’ All schedules are thrown out the (train) window as The Canadian is seemingly scheduled to run notoriously off schedule. The Big Problem is rail traffic. VIA Rail is now low on the priority list with the Higher Ups at CN. Freight traffic is where the money is so it gets priority track treatment and VIA trains move aside and sit, often for long periods of time, waiting for freight trains to pass. Oddly enough, this eventually becomes a non-issue for folks on the train. Provided one doesn’t have to be anywhere else on time, people settle into the lateness and simply enjoy the ride (or non-ride as it were).
Today has been a stellar day. I did more shows on the ‘Park Car’ (the last car on the train is named after a National Park). It’s also called the Prestige Car with service that includes espresso and red wine. As artist on board, I am granted a kind of backstage pass that grants me magical privileges and full access to prestige. A young woman from France, who is in Canada looking for work in musical theatre, joined me for an international rendition of ‘Knocking On Heaven’s Door.’
Here’s a story: I brought a Square Reader with me on this trip so that I can take payments from credit cards for music sales. I sold a CD to a woman and swiped her card for a $15 payment. I accidentally added an extra zero. Neither of us noticed. Next day she saw me and told me I had charged her $150 for a CD. Oops. We sorted it out and then had dinner together in the dining car.
Here’s another story: I played an afternoon show in the Skyline Dome Car for Coach passengers. A group of 11 people got on the train in Edmonton and I performed mostly for them. Wes, a 78 year-old man who also happens to be blind, danced a slow waltz to ‘Nightriders Lament’ with a woman who was acting as his caregiver. We then sang Happy Birthday to him and added a chorus of Happy Anniversary for he and his wife, Joan (who happens to be deaf).
I’m now in Jasper, a picture postcard town. (Yes, of course there’s a light snow falling.) I perform all day tomorrow at Jasper Elementary.
P.S. Sorry it’s a ‘Sideways’ video. A kind passenger took it for me …