LAST EDITED ON 12-26-12 AT 12:07 PM (EST)
OK, so, I’m on the train between terminals at the airport in Atlanta, Hartsfield International Airport, on Christmas Day. In the South, air travel very often is on a path thru Atlanta. This train, for those who haven’t had the pleasure, is pretty much equal to your basic subway, the train arrives, the doors woosh open, and entering people climb over exiting people, all in a panic that they will either miss getting on the train, or fail to get off and have to figure a reroute. A minor panic each time the train doors open.
I fought my way to a small shoulder-to-shoulder nose-to-tail peaceful spot in the crowd, and as I grabbed for a hand hold to brace for take-off, I looked down and there’s this little waif, cute as anything, with red hair and green eyes, as Scottish or Irish a lass as is possible. Waist high, so I guess about 6-7? 8? Doing the restless in-place dance that kids do, with her little pink roller suitcase being the focal point of her pirouettes. And her Mom, adjacent to us both, and also very cute but in a more womanly way, with a friendly smile and dancing willing-to-make-contact eyes. No husband or other male companion, just the two.
The Mom asks the girl to please grab a rail to keep from falling down when the train starts, “because this is like the subway at home.” Inwardly I make a guess – New Yorkers? Friendly smile/eyes notwithstanding?
A lady's voice (taped) announces that the train is about to start, and it does. With a jerk that actually causes a lady behind us to partially fall. Ever the hero, I allow her to grab me and arrest her fall, preventing (for her) a full meeting of face and floor. (OK, I just happened to be in the way, but heroically so).
We recover. And the train is moving. The little girl looks up at her mom with a puzzled expression, and asks “Mommy, what are Baloneys?” (Um, I thought, definitely not Southerners).
This catches the mom (and me) off guard, but she answers, “Baloney? Well, honey, baloney is a kind of processed meat.”
A moment passes, and (fortunately for me because I was also bewildered but felt that I, as a stranger, couldn’t ask), the mom very sweetly asks her “Why did you ask that? Did you hear someone mention baloney?”
The little girl then says “The lady, when the train started, she asked us to ‘Hold on to our Baloneys?’”
At that moment I began to feel a little apprehensive as to where this might lead, I mean, this little girl was actually within inches of, well, what some might regard as my baloney, and not too far from multiple “Baloneys” in the crowd. Little kids can be so unpredictable with their questions, and I could tell there was a bit of apprehension with her mom too, but she took a breath and asked where she had heard that.
The little girl said “In the announcement. The lady said ‘Grab a hand hold and hold on to your baloneys’”.
She had been referring to the taped announcement when the train started to “Grab a hand hold and hold on to your belongings”.
We laughed. Relieved.
My stop had come and it was my turn to elbow thru the crowd, but before I set off I complimented the mother on her very entertaining child. She of course, agreed, explaining with a laugh that they rode the subway in NY Manhattan, but that they didn’t hear the same announcement there when the train started.
An adorable vignette (maybe you had to be there, but take my word for it) which lightened up an otherwise very dreary Christmas travel day for me.