Saturday, February 24, 2024

Making the best of it

| December 19, 2006 11:00 PM

Sometimes when you make the best of the worst it's no so bad.

On Friday night, Polish visitor Dagmara Radziuk was scheduled to catch the 10:59 p.m. train at the Amtrak station in Libby to return home via Seattle.

During Dagma's six months in Libby, she'd met quite a few people here, so I secretly arranged for some of them to meet us at the train station.

We got there one hour early so as not to miss anyone. I also took my Scrabble game to kill time since we'd heard the train would be "significantly late."

Much to our dismay, though, the station had no heat.

But we made the best of things.

After friend Toni Kinden and her son, Klint, stopped to wish Dagma well, Toni went home to get her electric heater. It later doubled as a pizza-warmer.

But what really made the 3 1/2-hour wait for the train so magical was the surprise on Dagma's face to see visitors like Star Williams, John Thomas, John Herrmann, Paul Sievers, Peggy Sue Dixon, Steve Snyder and Margeaux Zwang. Some showed up as late as 1 a.m., which wasn't a problem since the train didn't make it to Libby until 1:30.

And despite the cold, we played Scrabble, visited, drank coffee, ate snacks and were entertained by Margeaux on her flute, which she had with her because she was returning from a rehearsal for Saturday's Messiah in Libby.

Other riders waiting at the station, ranging from old to young, appreciated Margeaux's performance. It also made the cold not so cold.

When I contacted station caretaker Marliese Vaughn on Monday, she apologized for the inconvenience of no heat.

Marliese, who's taken care of the station for 21 years, said the boiler system in the station is "very ancient" and had broken down. She also said it's not easy to find parts.

The station, which is normally kept at 72 degrees, was without heat for three days.

"We had people on it," Marliese said. "The parts are hard to find and it took time to get them here."

She also noted it's an old building with leaks.

"Every time a train goes by, you get another burst of wind," Marliese said.

It's OK Marliese. Our cold Friday night was one of those magical times you never forget and could never re-enact. - Gwen Albers