Thursday, June 08, 2006
Actor/Director Ron Howard is usually on the top of other New Haven Line Conductor’s list of celebrity sightings and it had frustrated me that I had never run into him. I had spent most of my life watching him on TV and it felt as if we had grown up together. I was more than a little jealous that others had seen him before I did. Hadn’t we, I thought, spent many an afternoon skipping stones at the fishin’ pond with Pa and Barney. Oh, I’m sure, that while in high school, I shared fries with him, Potsy and Ralph at Arnold’s Drive In.
Then one fateful day while collecting tickets on the Stamford local, a thin red haired man in a blue baseball cap handed me his ticket. It was my old friend Ron. At first, I must confess, I was annoyed when there was no hint of recognition on his face. As I punched his ticket, I told him of the previous Thanksgiving when I had his brother Clint, (the kid from Gentle Ben,) on my train, but this didn’t seem to impress him much. I put his ticket in my pocket and stood in the vestibule to regroup my thoughts.
After our Port Chester Station stop, Ron gathered his things together and walked towards me. Finally, I thought, he remembers me, but he said nothing. At a loss for words, I noticed the Apollo 13 logo that emblazoned his cap.
"Is that your latest movie?" I asked.
"Yes it is," he said.
"What’s it about?" Asked one of the several pinstriped-clad Wall Street barons who were now standing around the vestibule area with suitcases in hand.
What’s it about? I thought. Isn’t that pretty obvious, but being the nice guy that Ron is, he proceeded to tell the cliff note version of the Apollo 13 story. Just as we crossed the New York/Connecticut state line he said, “Houston we have a problem,” and the movie credits rolled as we slid into Greenwich Station where he got off the train. As he walked down the platform I almost yelled:
“ Hey Ron, let’s meet at Goober’s fillin’ station for a bottle of pop,”