Sunday, September 06, 2015

I met The Magician on VIA Rail

I love travelling by train.

Person-sized seats.
Big windows.
Enough air for everyone aboard.
First class graffiti-viewing.
Sneaking through towns by their back doors; peaking into backyards.
No security checks; no wondering if you might be hauled off by the authorities.
Free wi-fi.
That iconic whistle at level crossings.

Mid-August, en route to this paradise of up-northness near Kingston, Ontario,
 where all the guests, regardless of age, were required to participate in seaweed removal at the beach,

I was settled into my spacious train seat, happily eating a peanut butter sandwich, drinking steeped tea from Tim Horton's, and re-reading The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency, when I heard the unmistakable squeaking of a balloon.

The steward on our car was an efficient, cheerful young man. He checked tickets, helped people find their seats, reset the wi-fi, trundled the refreshments cart up and down the aisle selling beverages and snacks.
And now here he was, twisting a balloon into a sword for the young boy in the seat behind me. And earlier, there'd been something about a wand and a magic colouring book, but it only dimly registered because my mind was in Botswana with Mma Ramotswe.

When this magic young man arrived at my seat with the snacks cart, I commented on his entertaining the kids (not exactly in the job description of VIA rail employees). He pulled out a deck of cards and proceeded to dazzle me with a trick worthy of any sceptic!

Wow, The Magician was on my train! This is the back of his business card.

Here are a few more sleight-of-hand parlour tricksters.
Golden Age of Hollywood
Halloween Tarot

Inner Child

Tarot of Jane Austen
Zirkus Magi

Ah, the magic of train travel!