As soon as I saw that this week’s subject was trains, I though, “Oh, brother!” I have never been on a full-sized train, at least, not one that was moving. I have been in a few cars at museums and exhibits, as my oldest son was bitten by the train bug when young.
We went to every train-related function we could find and bought model trains which he wired and re-wired…seems my father’s electrical engineering genes skipped me and passed on down a generation. When that son was in high school, he had to make a compilation of poems on one subject; he got an ‘A’ on his choices and originality for finding poems on, (you guessed it), trains.
He got his dream job of being an EMT and professional firefighter early, even getting out west to fight wildfires. But now he only works with the local volunteer fire department and part time as an EMT because this year he got his top dream job and I’ll bet once again you can guess the answer. His work for the railroad is not exactly what he anticipated but how many young men do you know that by the age of 28 have managed to achieve all of their childhood fantasies and be paid for them?
No matter where I lived, I have always spent a great deal of time at the library but when I was in Idaho, it was essential for my sanity. I started writing in earnest there and won a minor award in a prestigious songwriting competition. (Roger Miller wrote “King of the Road” while bored out of his gourd in Idaho; I am in good company). The town had a new, modern library, but CSX trains went roaring between the parking lot and the library building itself. I made my family promise not to bury me in Idaho if I was struck down by a train there, (which I was almost certain would happen).
Except for little trains that run around zoos, the only trains I ever ‘traveled’ on were at Lakeside amusement park near Denver, Colorado. We spent many fun days there that lead into beautiful evenings. We could get my mother on the trains even if we could not get her on any other ride. The little wood and coal-burning engines would steam around the lovely lake there, past the rides and the abandoned dance pavilion, which was way past its heyday. We’d try to time the treks to allow us to watch the sunsets while riding and when it was dark, the lights from nearby businesses and the park’s attractions shone over the water in colorful reflections that always reminded me of Impressionist paintings. It was a wonderful way to wind-down excited but tired children. I miss those little trains.