I continue to be fascinated by the connections my sleeping mind is making. Last night I dreamed I was in New Orleans for a night, and I was walking around looking for Tipitina’s or some other famous restaurant for dinner. A block or two off the busy commercial area, I came across a restaurant in an old railroad shed/depot. The walls were corrugated tin, and inside the spacious hangar-like building there was a counter and then lengthy rows of tables with benches. Here and there solo nighthawks were nursing their coffees. Outside the building there were signs indicating the distances to other towns. Much to my surprise and delight, this was Alice’s Restaurant, the one Arlo Guthrie sang about. I decided I would be sure to have breakfast there the following morning before I left town.
When I woke up this morning, I realized the reason for the restaurant being set by the railroad tracks in New Orleans was because one of Arlo Guthrie’s other signature songs was “The City of New Orleans,” a song not about the city of course, but about the train of that name. Somehow, more than 25 years after I listened to those songs with any regularity, my dream mind managed to compress those details quite concisely.