Today has been a pretty craptastic day but it was not completely unexpected as it involved two American Airlines flights (which are NEVER pleasant even when you aren't 12 weeks pregnant, still sick and miserable) and a drive from San Antonio to Dallas. Let's just sum it up by saying that I ended up crying after I threw up in a grocery store bag in the front seat of the car as we were driving into Dallas.
I'm attempting for what seems like the millionth time to eat and trying to catch up on blog posts that I missed during our whirlwind 11 days in Chicago, Boston, NYC and DC. As usual, my friend Jennie had some kick ass writing and it made me think of a funny memory from our trip. It's crazy how the human mind work and the sheer volume of things that we store in our noggins only to be triggered by smells, sights or sounds.
In New York, we arrived and left via Amtrak so we stayed in a hotel just steps from the terminal at Penn Station. I've taken the train from Boston to NY a couple of times so I am vaguely familiar with the facility in the way that my brain retains information about almost every place that I've ever been with enough clarity to get me around anytime I return. We were getting ready to leave but I woke up with hunger that needed to be satisfied before boarding the train so Adam and I walked over to the station because the nearest Duane Reade was inside. We walked around checking out our options (what I really wanted was Auntie Anne's pretzel sticks but they were out, which is neither here nor there but I cannot get enough soft pretzels during this crazy pregnancy taste bud journey). Adam spotted the Krispy Kreme and decided he wanted to try their coffee for the first time so off we went. As soon as we walked up to the case and I saw the blueberry cake donuts, a memory of this Krispy Kreme in this very station came over me.
I was in high school and it was my second trip to Boston. My grandmother had taken my cousin and I and I think we were there for almost two weeks. Another cousin of ours was living in NY at the time so we arranged to take the train down to see her for a day. It was a whirlwind since we really only had about 8 hours in Manhattan but I remember that we went on a double decker trolley tour and it was the only time I ever saw the Twin Towers standing. It was just enough to give two girls from the relative country (San Antonio and Oklahoma) a taste of what the big city had to offer. We went back to Penn Station to catch our train "home" to my Auntie's in Boston and stopped at Krispy Kreme on the way back. The only fuzzy part of this memory for me is why we were there but I think it was because either my cousin Marybeth (who lived in the city) had told us about them or my Auntie had made a special request. This was well before Krispy Kreme was a common sight everywhere and I think they might have only had locations in New York. As part of the dozen, my request was a blueberry cake donut. I still remember how good it tasted as I ate it in the dark on the train ride home. This was no ordinary trip, as the power on our train went out for most of the four hour trip to Boston and we ended up being hours late getting in.
I don't think I've thought about that part of the day in the station since then but every detail came rushing back to me. Penn Station hasn't changed a great deal since then and it was 15 years ago. I've lived another half of my life since that day and that trip, which is kind of stunning to realize. I've been thinking about my Grandmother a lot lately, probably due to several factors including but not limited to my hormones, lots of big news in our family and finally getting our memorial cookbook published. I'm thankful that I've reached the point in this journey where most of my memories of her aren't accompanied by tears but smiles and laughter. Despite not feeling at my best, our trip was better than I thought it would be. We saw family and friends at every stop we made and I got to relive lots of old memories and feelings. As I was telling Adam the Krispy Kreme story, I was amazed that I could remember everything in such detail by simply looking at one donut, when half the time I can't tell you what I ate for lunch the same day.
At a time when I'm constantly feeling rushed and hurried, it was nice to have a poignant reminder to stop and smell the roses, or in my case, the donuts. You never know what distant memory is waiting to be called up from the recesses of your mind.