|Amtrak Surfliner, California|
"Remember when we were in Canada on the steam train? He asked. "When was it?"
I pulled the date and place out of my mind immediately. " "Your Mom was pregnant with Dallas, so it would have been the summer of 1971, in Winnipeg." I asked him what he remembered. At age almost six, he could remember going to the bathroom, flushing the toilet and seeing the tracks underneath, afraid of falling through.
We chatted for several minutes, each remembering train rides, he with more than me, because in the service he's been on trains in Turkey, England, the Chunnel, France and Germany, plus time on Amtrak from Glacier National Park to Chicago to St. Louis.
"It's amazing that you remember the train rides more than any plane rides, and they're always more pleasant," he said.
|The Rock Island Rocket|
Got me to thinking. Earliest train ride I can remember, just barely, is at about four or five, riding with my Dad in the Rock Island Rocket from Fort Worth, through Comanche where Granddad lived, to Duncan, where he'd pick us up. I most remember dark windows and night, wondering about the people living in the lighted homes.
Of course there was one train ride my Dad would never forget, when he jumped a freight in Tucumcari in 1932, lost his grip and fell under the big steel wheels, costing him a leg. See "My Dad had a wooden leg." But he never talked about it to us. http://clarkcoffee.blogspot.com/search?q=wooden+leg
|In Albuquerque, long ago|
I do remember Neysa and I boarding Amtrak in Ardmore to go to Houston, where we picked Mom up and moved her to Waurika in the early 70s. And we road the steam train out of Chama to Cumbres Pass and back years later. http://www.cumbrestoltec.com/
|Cumbfres and Toltec|
|Forest Park Railroad|
On every one of the trips I remember the scenery outside the windows, the sounds, some of the people--pleasant, relaxing. Today I value such travel for its lack of stress. Isn't that amazing? As Vance said, the only plane trips you remember are the bad experiences.
Now I'm not a real railroad buff, but no wonder I'm attracted to old steam engines, see October post, http://clarkcoffee.blogspot.com/search?q=Bartlesville and prowl old depots like the one at Waurika where we owned the newspaper--vacant then but it's become a library and museum.
http://clarkcoffee.blogspot.com/2011/07/wheres-boose.html , count the freight cars going past, attend train shows, yearn for a caboose in my back yard, look down those tracks wanting to go.
|North to Alaska|
And with Dad's art in the house, and some of my efforts, especially Christmas cards for good friends Roy and Jill Kelsey, the pull of trains is more than just a fact.
|My Dad's scratchboard of the turntable in Fort Worth. I was there as a kid when he drew this, and he later turned it into a snow scene for a Christmas card. So many memories|
|My watercolor from Neruda's poem, "Is there anything sadder than a train standing in the rain?"|