Ticket to Ride, or "Train" as it is affectionately known by the Friday-night Train group consisting of me, Daniel, my sister Juliana and bro-in-law Reo.
The best part of Train is when two players build on parallel tracks and call out "Train Buddies!"
As you might have guessed, this is not actually a rule. In fact, I doubt anyone else does it. But in our group it's a long standing tradition.
I was reminded of Train Buddies when a picture surfaced from YA writer extraordinaire and French-fry sharing-BFF Sarah Ockler.
This photo was taken at lunch one day during last year's National Council for Teachers of English convention in Philadelphia, and it is full-color proof that I am, indeed, BFFs with Rebecca Stead, this year's Newbery medalist. If you'll direct your eyes to the back row, from left to right, you will see famous authors Rebecca Stead, Sarah Ockler, and then ME! On the bottom row, David Macinnis Gill, Jo Knowles, and of course, Sara Zarr (who is my friend in real life, so she doesn't really count. Let's get back to the imaginary friends, shall we?)
Now, you might think that we were all eating lunch on a train, because, you know, why else would this picture of buddies remind me of Train Buddies? Alas, this picture was taken at one of those boring stationary restaurants.
The picture reminded me of Train Buddies because I took the train from my hotel to the conference every day, and it ended up being one of the best parts of the trip. Unlike my imaginary buddies at this table, who likely don't remember my name, my buddies from the train...well, they probably don't remember my name either. But we did get to bond over our jaunt into the city.
I met two English-teachers from Arizona who taught at an almost entirely Spanish speaking school. I met a girl from SoCal who was following Phish on their comeback tour. I met a local who worked for the fine state of PA, who was one of the most gracious, caring women I've ever known. I met a teacher from Ohio who knew all about Mormonism--because of what she had learned in a scrapbooking magazine!
Too bad it's so abnormal to take pictures of the inside of a train car. I'd love a picture of those buddies most of all.