old ways

Today as I was running errands I saw the lights flashing and the guard bars coming down at a railroad track crossing.

“Rats!” was my first thought, and then I realized I was actually early for my next stop and I could have time to sit and wait without worry.

Then I remembered what we would do when I was young and there were many more trains blocking our roads from time to time. We would count the cars, mostly freight cars, and try to be the one among friends who had seen the longest train. So I determined I would enjoy my wait time and count the cars again.

In just a minute the engine came into view, and there was a second engine behind the first. Lickety-split they sped by! And that was it. No cars to count after all. Soon the lights stopped flashing and the bars went back up. I guess I was a little disappointed.

I come from a family of “railroad men,” including my father and both grandfathers. I guess it is a good thing that no one in my family has to make a living in this dwindling industry anymore. Something about that saddens me, but maybe I am getting old and out of date as well. And most of the time I am very thankful that I don’t have to sit and wait at railroad crossings anymore!


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