Pick up your feet.
Hold your breath.
Cross your fingers, if there’s time, just for luck.
This was our ritual when I was young. Every time the car we were riding in crossed the railroad tracks, we made a wish. Every time, and always. No exceptions. Then we waited, tentatively, hopefully. Could it come true?
I wished for new clothes, a fun trip, a good grade on a test. Or for a certain boy to like me, for my best friend to ask me to spend the night, for a new pair of cute shoes. I wished that I wouldn’t really have to clean my room right when I got home, or for my grandmother to have chocolate cookies when we got to her house, or for summer to last one more week before we had to go back to school.
So long ago… How many wishes came true? Who knows, but more than my share, I’m sure. And others, thank goodness, never materialized. Sometimes our childhood wishes and teenage dreams are picture perfect, and sometimes they are somewhat misguided. Luckily, the railroad track ritual wasn’t always a guarantee.
There don’t seem to be as many railroad crossings these days. And maybe I feel like now I need to be more the master of my own fate – no time to be wasted on wishing, when there’s doing to be done.
But if I could still lift both feet, hold my breath, and cross my fingers just for good luck, what would I wish for now? Definitely a big dose of happiness for my family and friends. Dreams fulfilled for those I love. A little more money would be nice. Certainly good health would make the cut, too. But the necessities are already surrounding me.
So the next time I cross the tracks I think I’ll try going through the motions, but in place of greedy wishes, I’ll whisper my gratitude instead.