October 19th, 2012
07:29 AM GMT
On board the California Zephyr (CNN) – Mary Jane Loder is 92 and taking the train from Denver to California; what's more, she is travelling alone.
“Why not?’ she says. Of all the people I have met on the California Zephyr, none has inspired me quite as much as Mary Jane, whom I was privileged to meet in the dining car.
Mary Jane held court at her table. Lively, witty, and with an infectious laugh that had everyone laughing with her; that is until we came to talking about this election. It's the most important, she believes, because of the state of the economy and the level of unemployment among young people. Giving them hope is crucial.
She can’t remember exactly the first presidential election in which she voted. "It must have been one of the Roosevelt races in the 1940s,” she believes (probably 1944 when Roosevelt beat Dewey, since that was the first election when she would have been eligible to vote). Nor will she be drawn on which president she thought was the best. She admits that Bill Clinton was one of her favorites. As for his wife, Hillary Clinton could be a good president, too. "She needs to fix her hair though," she adds.
Spending 10 minutes with Mary Jane Loder was the tonic any weary traveler needed. A reminder of how we are never too old to enjoy something.
I left her giggling, walking back to her cabin, swaying with the train's movement. “This is fun,” she said. Having met Mary Jane, she was right!