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Tracking Happiness: Chapter 14

This is CHAPTER 14 in our series offering gossip, novel backstory, and personal confessions about TRACKING HAPPINESS: A SOUTHERN CHICKEN ADVENTURE. We’re working our way through a novel here. If you’re just now discovering us, you can jump in now or go back to the first entry and catch up. If you jump in now, I can’t promise you it won’t be confusing, but it might be interesting too.

Ok. Last we left off: Lucinda was emerging from a freezing cold cow pond in North Dakota where she’d experienced an impromptu baptism with her new friend Coletta. We shall see what the effect of the baptism has on her grand adventure.

This chapter is full of introspection. Lucinda Mae keeps discovering more and more disturbing things about her dad. The cumulative effect of the revelations tilts her world. This is the way real life works. You’ve got your beliefs all set in place then Life sends you a new piece of information. You’ll probably brush that pesky bugger aside. Then a new twig plops onto the pile. Then another. Soon enough, you’ve got a bonfire going, and you’ve either got to either re-examine your beliefs or become a know-nothing. I didn’t create Lucinda to be a know-nothing.

The notes section on this chapter has what you’ve all been waiting for: extended cuts. It’s like the director’s cuts in a movie. You know, the funny stuff that appears at the end of the film if you stay in the theatre long enough. This extended cut entry is a scene that was in the early goings of the novel, but then it seemed to slow down the pace too much and not otherwise serve any purpose. Other than being funny. And it’s true. Folks I’ve told the story to don’t believe it’s true, I can tell. Some have outright scoffed. But it happened. On a train. Trains are mysterious places. Go to the footnotes to read and decider yourself if you believe it. 

Okay. I think that’s enough preliminary information.

Helpful Train Hint: Train ticket prices vary by demand. The more people who are buying tickets—the heavier the ridership or “peak travel times”—the more the tickets cost. At least this is the way it works in Memphis. So check the cost of your ticket ahead of time even if you’ve ridden that train before. You might be in for a surprise, good or bad, one way or another. 


Footnotes: Extended Cuts

When I awoke in my train seat around seven o’clock, I was momentarily confused as to my whereabouts. Then I recognized the maroon and navy upholstery of the train. A faint memory played in my head of the breakfast announcement ringing through the car.

The boy in the seat next to me was coming groggily awake, too. He stared at my head.

“I think that’s my cap.” He pointed a wobbly finger at my ball cap.

I peered at him.

“And you’ve got on my cap,” I said.

He rolled his eyes, looking up. Sure enough, his gaze found the brim of a hat on his head.

“We must’ve switched hats during the night. Smashed up so close here together and everything,” I offered.

He lifted the Cardinals cap from his head and studied the logo. 

“I’ll be durn,” he said, like someone from Arkansas. “I seem to remember . . . the hat falling off, me getting it back?”

“Must’ve gotten mine instead.” When he didn’t move, I asked, “Wanna keep it?”

“Oh, no, ma’am.”

We exchanged hats. He awkwardly shook my hand. Introduced himself as David. From Arkansas. 

He seemed like a lost soul, but there wasn’t room for any more castaways on our ship, so I wished him a pleasant day and excused myself for breakfast in the dining car.

Amtrak train trip, Amtrak travel, Buy your Amtrak ticket now, Tracking Happiness, Tracking Happiness chickens, Tracking Happiness: A Southern Chicken Adventure

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