Thank goodness for mass transit! If any of you are familiar with the Dallas - Fort Worth, Texas metroplex you know that the traffic can sometimes be exasperating and downright dangerous!
That was my argument when I convinced two of my sisters and a niece and one of her friends that we should take a commuter train to see Elton John in concert. We had coveted tickets to see him at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. The metroplex has a public transportation system that is very user friendly and quite fun to use. One of the options is the Trinity Railway Express running east and west between the two cities and north to some of the suburbs of Dallas. There are ten Trinity Railway Express stations scattered along the route between Fort Worth and Dallas, and a special event train will take you to Victory Station at the American Airlines Center. No hassle. No parking. No gas. And no wear-and-tear on our nerves!
They all agreed. We'd take the train after we ate dinner. So the first stop was Oscar's Mexican Restaurant in Haltom City, a suburb of Fort Worth. They make some of the best salsa and spinach con queso I've ever eaten. We all ordered Oscar's margaritas with salt and started on our first round of chips and salsa. I don't remember what the others ordered but I had their shrimp stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon. It was delicious!
My niece gifted us all with colorful Hawaiian leis and huge bright sunglasses. This was her attempt to give a nod to Elton's flamboyant clothing and on-stage showmanship. She intended for us to wear them to see Elton. What else could we do? We all gamely placed the leis around our necks and proudly walked into Oscar's Restaurant. As you can imagine we got some stares and we responded with waves and giggles.
After our delicious meal and spirited conversation at Oscar's we were on our way to the train by way of the back roads. That time of the day the rush hour traffic is usually backed up and it's best to find an alternate route, especially here on the northeast side of Fort Worth. I understand the place where SH 121, SH 183, SH 26 and 820S merge by the newly remodeled and expanded Northeast Mall is one of the most congested in the metroplex.
We girls are always prepared! We had checked the Trinity Railway Express website for train schedules to and from the concert. We arrived in plenty of time, parked my niece's compact KIA Sorento in the large, well-lighted parking lot at the American Airlines Center and felt relieved that we had made it well in advance of the eastbound train. Other excited folks were milling about on the platform and we struck up several friendly conversations with fans going to see Elton. Everyone was interested in our colorful leis and sunglasses. We felt a little computer illiterate when, after some fumbling and questions answered by some of the younger set, we secured our tickets to ride. We purchased the all-day train passes so we wouldn't have to buy a return ticket after the long concert. We settled down on a bench to wait.
We waited, and then we waited some more. Everyone peered down the track looking back toward Fort Worth, but saw nothing. Finally, after it was obvious the train was late, a Trinity Railway Express representative hurried to the platform. Seems the eastbound had had a mishap and it wasn't coming! If we were going to make it in time to see Elton we'd have to drive. The railway representative promised to let us ride another time by using the pass we'd just purchased. I never did.
Elton John was magnificent. When we arrived the American Airlines Center was pulsating with excited voices and musical instruments being warmed up. We found our seats with some help from the ushers and settled down for a trip down memory lane. Elton sang many of his top hits. My favorite was "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road." I believe Elton John's music transcends time, don't you?
Granted, the trip to Dallas and the American Airlines Center was fast and furious and parking wasn't too bad, but the train would have been sooo much easier.