Train Travel; It’s the people you meet that make a difference

Report by Chuck Robuck, CCRiders

With all the BAD news we are being bombarded with these days, I thought I’d share a GOOD story with you for a change. I have long been a believer in the “Karma” and “you reap what you sow” philosophies. This week, something happened that strengthens my belief in these principles even further.

One of our long time CC Riders, Patty Atherton, was traveling on the San Joaquin train on a business trip a week or so ago. While enroute to Bakersfield, she met a gentleman and his wife who were enroute from a wedding they had attended in Washington State to Los Angeles to catch the “Southwest Chief” back to their home in New Mexico.

The man’s name is George Two Feathers Tippin and his wife’s name is Helen and they got along famously with Patty on the long trip. As George and Helen shared their stories, Patty told them about the CC Riders, and, noticing that George was very fond of pins (of which he had many on his hat), she decided to induct them both as CC Riders.

After reading them our CC Riders Philosophy and administering the Oath, she presented both with pins, which they were overjoyed to receive. Upon arrival in Bakersfield, Patty helped them with their luggage and gave George one of her business cards and told him to give her a call if they were ever in the Sacramento area. The Tippins went on their merry way to Los Angeles and eventually to their home in Capitan, New Mexico.

End of story? No, not by a long shot. A week or so later Patty received a package at her office, and enclosed was a letter from George and Helen. What a TOTAL SURPRISE! Inside were a hand-made Native American basket and two figurines. Here are some excerpts from the enclosed letter to explain:

“Dear fellow CC Rider. At the beginning we want to say how much we enjoyed your company, and thank you for all your assistance. I have the C.C. Rider pin affixed to the band on the hat, and have partied as much as one can in Capitan. Smoky sends his greetings. A word about the three enclosures (in the package).

The pine needle basket, although it looks more like a bowl, is made with the needles from the Ponderosa Pine in front of the Smokey Bear Historical Park, here in Capitan. Smokey was found as a cub clinging to a tree with burned paws after a fire in the Capitan Mountains, about 5 miles north. He was adopted by the Forest Service as the symbol for fire prevention, and spent his life in the National Zoo in Washington, living about 25 years. It is said he received so much mail the Postal Service gave him his own zip code. I understand he would wear the smoky hat and stand up but would have nothing to do with the blue jeans. When he died the remains were returned to Capitan and are buried in the Historical Park. The basket is made in the general Southwestern style. The white beads are bone and the brown beads are horn. The wooden arrow head is my way of signing the baskets.

The two little figures are made in the general Zuni style, but are not copies of any of the Zuni’s spirits. They are my design and are the spirit(s) of the C.C. Riders, — all the trains will be on time, suitcases will arrive with their owner, traveling companions will be as friendly and generous with their time as you.

May the spirit always ride with you.”

You can see a picture of George Two Feathers and the basket and figure by clicking on this link

I wanted to share this wonderful story with all of you — it clearly demonstrates the power of kindness, karma and the CC Rider Spirit. Also, I wanted to let you know that we will be reciprocating George and Helen’s gifts by sending them a GOLDEN SPIKE signed by the CC Riders along with a PICTURE of the group.
Mr. Robuck has been a rail traveler for 11 years; he heads up the lively CCRiders group that travels daily on the Capitol Corridor between Auburn and Sacramento.

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