Thursday, April 24, 2008

Train Obsession


I have a knee jerk reaction when I see trains. I want to scream and yell "LOOK- A Train!!" Even when I'm by myself just driving in solitude, listening to my own music, enjoying the mellowness of the drive; if I see a train I have to stop myself from screaming aloud: "Train! Train! Look, it's a train!"

I wasn't always this way of course. I never gave trains much of a thought as a young girl growing up in Lubbock, Texas. The only true recollection I have of even noticing trains is from long road trips with my sisters. We would make a game of counting the number of cars on a train as we zoomed past each other on the long open stretch of highway. Then we were on to Backseat Bingo or Alphabet Roadsigns, not giving the passing train another thought. That was the extent of my acknowledgment of trains.

I suppose I did give a great deal of thought to trains in the spring of 1997. That was when my girlfriend Ruth and I backpacked across Europe. You give a LOT of thought to trains when you are trying to get from one eastern European country to the next, especially the time of day that train travels. We preferred traveling at night so we could maximize our day time hours touring ancient cities and enjoying local cuisine and brew. And once we boarded a train we rushed to find an empty car and then spread our belongings out as quickly as possible, pretending to snooze every time someone walked by looking for a car to bunk in. We didn't like sharing if we could help it. But time tables and cars all to ourselves were the extent of my passion with trains during that spring. I was more focused on seeing the sites than seeing the trains.

But alas I have now given birth and am raising (along with Shawn of course) two little boys who, stereotypical as it may be, adore trains. Love trains. Worship trains. Can barely control their excitement upon seeing a train. It is that kind of love they have for trains. Especially Jackson who has had the privilege of riding many a train in his short little life. And seeing as how a train track separates our housing development from the older, quainter side of downtown, we pass over or under train tracks several times a day. The sheer joy on their faces at seeing a train cannot be described. It is utter elation. Like my own eyes gazing upon a pair of sparkley diamond earrings or a perfectly made chocolate cupcake. And the times we have stopped what we are doing or the conversation we are having so we can look at or listen to a train cannot be counted. I find myself lifting my boys up high to see a train whiz by if we are within vision. Just to see the joy and wonder on their faces.

And so now, as a Mama of two boys, I find myself joining in their elation upon seeing a train. Even if I am by myself enjoying a rare moment of solitude as I am driving. I will find myself starting to exclaim "Look boys, a tra...!" But I will stop short because there's something a little off about a woman in her mid-thirties, driving all by herself, screaming ecstatically about a rusty old coal train passing on a bridge overhead.

4 comments:

Terri said...

My dad worked on the railroad for 36 years. My parents' house is FILLED with train stuff, especially the computer room. Model trains, train pictures, train paintings, knick knack trains. Your boys' brains would probably explode if they saw it. :-P

Anonymous said...

Trains are a favorite around our place as well. Actually last winter break Nicolas almost had a nervous breakdown when the train passed us on I-25. He was so excited and then very unhappy when he couldn't see it anymore.

Stephanie & Nicolas

Tales from the Crib said...

Terri - you should email me a picture of the goods sometime. My boys would freak!!

S&N! - soooo good to see/hear from you. Hope you and Nicolas are good. Have you moved / started your new gig yet? hugs!

Oz said...

My father, who at age six carefully opened up the train set that was his Christmas gift and played with it before wrapping it back up again, is still obsessed with trains. He took my brother and me on a few train trips as kids, and there's pictures of the two of us dressed in striped OshKosh overalls and caps. When I was pregnant with my now six month old son, I bought, oh, half a dozen pairs of those overalls in various sizes from the OshKosh outlet in Silverthorne. My husband thought I was going overboard, but I just can't help it - there's something about the overalls that just sucks me in. It's not clear yet if Axel is going to like trains (though he is, at six months, a big fan of dogs and any cars that drive by us while we're walking), but I'm hoping he will!