After a late night meeting last week, we decided to stop in Cambridge for a bite to eat. As we were leaving town, we crossed a railroad track and noticed a train down the track. I sighed, knowing we would be past the track when the train came through. You see, I love trains … in particular the whistle, but also the sound and power of the engine, the clickity-clack of the wheels on the rail, the rushing sound as the cars pass by … I love it all.
My husband, knowing me all too well, however, turned at the next corner, pulled into a parking lot and parked close to the train tracks. Within moments, the train appeared – the headlight becoming brighter and all too quickly passing by … but, for me, the highlight of the day.
I have loved trains for a long time. You see, my Dad retired from BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe) in 1980. BNSF used to be known as the Great Northern Railway.
Rocky, the goat, was their logo. For many, many years, Rocky the Goat graced their calendar, a copy of which was always hanging on our bathroom wall.
After Dad retired, he didn’t care much about trains. It didn’t stop, me though. A few years ago, we went on an excursion train ride in Spooner, Wisconsin. I paid an extra fare so I could ride in the engine on the return trip. An eight-year old and his Dad were also riding in the engine. The eight-year old soon lost interest but my trip – and the conversation with the engineer – was loud, noisy and wonderful.
As I think about it, however, it’s not just the physical features and sounds of the trains. It’s more than that. When my Dad was still working, he often received anniversary gifts from BNSF. The ring I wear next to my wedding band is one of those gifts. It is a silver band with three emeralds – for Mom, symbolizing her Irish heritage. Just before they closed Mom’s casket, he reached in, took out her rings, and handed them to me. Dad always chose a gift for Mom rather than himself. As kids, we didn’t notice those things. We didn’t understand the depth of their love.
So, the real reason I love trains is that they remind me of my Dad and they always will. And that’s a good thing.
Thanks for reading!