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John Kelly's Washington

Metro Riders Holding Their Heads High

By John Kelly
Tuesday, November 9, 2004; Page C11

My favorite line from all the stories about Metro's train crash at Woodley Park last week was this quote from a concerned citizen:

"My wife has to take Metro sometimes, and I really don't want her to come home without her head or something because of a runaway train accident."

What's going on in this picture? Your humorous caption could win you lunch with a man who rides the Metro. (Gerald Martineau -- The Washington Post)

Barbara's Song: 'Meet Me at the Metro'
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I am in 100 percent agreement. My Lovely Wife's head is among the top two or three things that I like about her. I'd be seriously miffed if she came home without it.

Luckily, she doesn't ride Metro regularly. I do, and when I saw that photo of the one train atop the other, it gave me a shudder. It also gave me an idea for the next John Kelly's Washington contest.

That picture is so emblematic of Metro's woes -- so iconic, so totemic, so [insert word ending in -ic here] -- that it is just crying out for a humorous caption.

Send your creations, by Nov. 15 and with "Caption Contest" in the subject line, to kellyj@washpost.com. Or mail them to John Kelly, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. Please include your name and where you live. I'll treat the author of my favorite caption to lunch somewhere nice.

Music to Her Ears

Barbara Luchs remembers a time before Metro. Born in Washington, she took the streetcar as a girl. She took buses and the occasional cab. She learned to drive during World War II, but gas was rationed and she didn't drive too much. Like a lot of people, she thought that what Washington needed was a subway. And so she lobbied for one.

With other members of the League of Women Voters, she pounded the pavement, visiting politicians and urging them to fund its construction. "We fought for Metro back in the good old days," she told me.

Today, at 81, Barbara calls herself a "Metroholic." She loves Metro so much that about 20 years ago she was inspired to celebrate it in song. She wrote a rousing little ditty called "Meet Me at the Metro."

Meet me at the Metro, take an escalator down.

I'll be standing by the Farecards and we'll definitely go to town!

Make the scene on the Yellow or Green

On the Orange you'll face no delay.

Change your view to the Red or Blue and go home a dif'rent way.

You'll love it from the get-go. It's the region's joy and pride.

Come and meet me at the Metro, for a most entrancing ride.

"I've been a songwriter all my life," Barbara said. "When I was in college [at Vassar], my songs were performed at the college shows and things like that. . . . Things that mean something to me, I will write a song about."

She said she "couldn't not" write a song about the subway. Barbara sent the sheet music to Metro, hoping it could be a theme song, but she never heard back. She sent it to me not long ago, after reading one of my Metro-inspired columns.

It must be tough, I said, to be a Metroholic at a time when Metro has suffered so many woes.

"It's a delicate system," she said. "I think they are in just about every place. . . . It just goes with the dish, if you know what I mean. I just hope and pray that they will get this straight and keep out of trouble for a while."

To hear Barbara's song, go to www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/mmedia/metro/110804-6s.htm.

© 2004 The Washington Post Company