I wrote this for my friends Wendy and Bonsall Johnson, owners of the Parlor Car B&B in Chama, New Mexico, the southern terminus of the steam train line to Antonito, Colorado.
THE STRANGER IN THE PARLOR CAR
Chugging through echoing tunnels
and over the awesome trestles
the proud old steam engine
bound for Chama chugs and whistles.
Hardy folk stand in the gondola
happy families cluster in the coaches
but today the parlor car has but one fare -
the tall stranger from Nacogdoches.
The stranger strides past the waiting crowd
at Chama’s old-time station.
He sports a perfectly cut suit and a 10-gallon hat
but avoids casual conversation.
The stranger saunters into the Boxcar saloon
and he asks for the best place to stay.
Everyone all agrees, “Go to the Parlor Car,
located just a stone’s throw away.”
There’s a rap rap on the door
as Wendy peers through the glass
“Bonsall, dear, we have a visitor
and he’s certainly a man of class.”
The stranger doffs his hat
and smoothly says, “Evening, Ma’am,
what luck I’ve found your place!
Do you have a room for a traveling man?”
“We do. Please enjoy our finest suite.”
The stranger notes the elegant interior
with furnishings by cultured hosts.
“Looks mighty fine. Sure wish I could stay longer.”
The train whistle wakes Wendy and Bonsall
announcing a glorious new dawn.
They’re planning a fabulous breakfast
but the mysterious stranger is gone!
One day a clipping arrived from Nacogdoches, Texas
“The governor says the Parlor Car B&B
in Chama, New Mexico is the best
lil ol’ hotel west of the Pecos.”
(c) 2019 Larry Kilham