In 1972 I was new to El Paso, but not to trolleys; those sensible vehicles had been my principal means of transportation in my old home town, Boston. That first year in El Paso was especially difficult for me as I was newly divorced, homesick, and it was Thanksgiving - a family time. And my family was two thousand miles away. The small family restaurant where I had planned to eat my holiday dinner was closed. That particular November day it was cloudy and old; I’m talking about both the weather and my psyche. Everyplace in downtown El Paso was closed and I sadly trudged the deserted streets with my head down. Suddenly something clanged - the trolley bell. In my doldrums I hadn’t noticed the tracks, or the oncoming trolley. I snapped to, jumped out of the way and hailed the driver. The doors slid open and I climbed aboard. Hey, I was on my way to sunny Mexico!
It wasn’t actually sunny in Juarez, not in the literal sense, but there was life! Juarenses husted along the avenue of that bustling city with no Thanksgiving Day to interrupt the flow. I disembarked on Avenida Juarez and walked to La Florida, a lovely restaurant framed in yellow and blue ceramic tile. Their comida corrida - Chicken soup, mole poblano, salad, coffee and flan - satisfied me a way that no turkey dinner ever did. I left there whistling as I walked to the International Bridge for by that time, thanks to my trolley excursion, even though it was still cloudy overhead, the sun was shining in my soul.