(original story circa 2002)
Each week Mom used to pack me up in the front seat of an old Packard and drive through the Indiana countryside to a spot not far away, where a train track cut through miles and miles of cornfields. I stood patiently counting crows that congregated on twin vanishing strips of telephone wires, narrowing towards each corn tipped horizon. After a while the tracks began to vibrate softly, loosening tiny grains of sand that danced where they touched the magic steel rails. With each passing second my little boy’s brain filled with the thrill of an as-yet unseen locomotive, soon to be overwhelmed by the slow, steady rumble of an approaching train.
“Train time!” shouted Mom.
Where the tracks curved out of view, hidden by corn stalks and refracted sunlight, a wondrous engine appeared. A single headlamp — brighter than the sun — flashed momentarily; then, a piercing shriek from a whistle that scattered crows in all directions. Just to be sure, Mom held my hand in hers, and together we felt the rush and massive displacement as the engine pounded past; a wave from the friendly engineer, another screech from the whistle just for me. The wheels growled with a steel-on-steel voice so deep and regular and resonating it made my insides ache. The pavement all around shook and shook and shook. Unimaginably huge cars thundered past — each one with a different sound — and in-between each tonal shift, stroboscopic shadows flickered rhythmically where sunlight was interrupted.
Boom, boom, boom, boom. . .
All too soon the caboose rattled past, cartoon-like, chasing the diminishing train back into the cornfields. The dancing grains of sand and sound subsided along with my pounding heartbeat.
Tim says: this is one of my all-time favorite Simply Tims, ever.
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