Union Station Love ( and a slap on the hip )

I love Union Station. I wish I could live in one of the little tiny windows at the top, with a cozy candle and a four-poster bed. Luckily, I get the opportunity to visit Union Station regularly because my stepson comes to Portland from Eugene every other weekend. Last time we waited for his train to arrive, I strolled around the interior, wondering at the beautifully antiquated appointments including neon script for restrooms and newspapers, the lovely high molded cielings with plaster friezes, and the huge, nicotine-stained photos depicting various northwest landmarks. Do they really still send parcels and sell cigars at the newstand? It reminds me a little of "The Cricket in Times Square" to think about the newstand in its heyday. The modern world came crashing in suddenly as I turned from taking my last photo, and was SLAPPED ON THE HIP by an old woman who cursed at me angrily. "WRONG!"she croaked. I made a startled squeak when slapped, and then peered anxiously into her face. "WRONG, WRONG! THEY'RE NOT DOING THAT TODAY!" she barked. I realized she was nutty as a filbert tree and walked away, understanding that these days the glory has faded and the smell of beer and urine in the station is a sad sign of the times.