Everybody Has a Story: Chocolate moustache just one perk for volunteer docent

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At age 84, I am in my sixth year of volunteering as a docent on one of the cars of the Chelatchie Prairie tourist trains. I love this "job." I get to meet many interesting people and join in the families or other groups riding together to celebrate an event in their lives. It is also the source of lots of other fun. For example:

Our two-hour, 14-mile round trip includes a stop at Moulton Station, where passengers can get off the train and take the short walk down the trail to the waterfalls. Approaching this stop, I usually tell my passengers that if they have backpacks, diaper bags, coolers or other stuff they don't want to lug down the trail and back, just leave them on their seats.

Since I don't get off the car, I will watch over them. I end by saying, "You can leave anything you want on your seat, but do me a favor and don't leave any dark chocolate." This usually gets a laugh.

One day, after all the passengers had gotten off, I noticed that someone had put one of those bite-sized Hershey's dark chocolate candy bars on the edge of a seat. I tried but couldn't remember who was in that seat. I decided to play the game and take the bait, so I ate it.

I smeared some of the chocolate on my upper lip and on my cheek, and waited. As the passengers got back in the car, some did not notice my new moustache, but others did, and from the smiles and chuckles I knew they suspected that I was up to something.

A petite lady got on, walked over to me and said, "Aha, you found it!"

I put on my liar's straight face and replied, "Pardon me, I found what?"

"You found the dark chocolate I left on the seat!"

Most of the passengers by now were watching the exchange. I continued, saying, "No, I didn't find any dark chocolate."

She placed her hands on her hips, made a stern face, pulled me down to her level by my chin and said, "Then what's that mess all over your face?"

We all had a big laugh. I strongly recommend that everybody volunteer. You probably won't have to put chocolate on your face.


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