Back on Mountain Time

Back on Mountain Time is Mary Miles’ first piece for Cult of Americana

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have had a time change. Local time is 8:46am. I repeat: 8:46am Mountain Time.”

Mountain Time. I breathe in and settle back in my seat as the Southwest Chief draws toward the station at Gallup, New Mexico. I have about another eight hours to my destination in the far northeastern corner of the state, but it feels good to be back in this time zone. It means I’m getting close. The buildings we crawl past appear to be frozen in time. “Hotel El Rancho” boasts “Charm Of Yesterday – Convenience Of Tomorrow,” while the Best Western down the street seems to have missed at least the last five logo updates. The little adobe-style buildings labeled as pawn shops, trading posts, or all-you-need ammunition stores feel somewhat surreal, though that’s hardly a surprise for a lady from the northeast who flew in from Germany less than three days ago.

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The #AmtrakCares Flint Water Relief Train being unloaded

Relief Rides the Rails, Part I: Flint Water Crisis

Relief Rides the Rails, Part I: Flint Water Crisis

A short piece on the successful initiative by Amtrak employees to bring relief to those impacted by the Flint, MI water crisis. 

I want you to take a moment and recollect with me. We’re 10 and 8 years old, respectively, at the dinner table. I’m struggling to finish my string-beans. You’re hoping that dad doesn’t see, because you know it’ll summon all manner of finger wagging about “children in Third World countries that would love to eat string-beans.”

Oh yeah? Well what about the time that you stayed in the shower too long? Do you remember dad shouting through the steam “stop wasting water, there’s children in Michigan that would love to take a hot shower right now.” Probably not. Because why in the world would that be a realistic comparison? Continue reading