Some days are just empty noise. I have successfully moved from quarantine to snowstorm prison – almost a month of total seclusion. Now, I really have not felt great, so the lack of distraction was very welcomed. Well, until today. My usual daily search for witty repartee and comedic relief has hit a new all-time low. The mere thought of turning on the television and listening to some young bright-eyed Stepford Wife spill nonsensical news with syrupy sweet vocal inflection is more than I can stomach. Today, it is abundantly clear why my grandfather called it “The Boob Tube.”
But there is sometimes healing in the quiet. I hear a train whistle wail in the distance, and I wonder if those that live close to the tracks love that sound of the wild and the free as much as I do. Everything in life is so relative to time and place, isn’t it? I close my eyes and get lost in visions of hobos jumping freight cars from city to city in search of work. Or maybe, they were just in search of change, or escape.
As a kid, my parents would put my older brother and me on an Indianapolis passenger train bound for St. Louis to spend time with our grandparents. With coin in our pockets and excitement in our hearts, it was always a magical journey. My research reminds me that the trip was 230 miles and today, on the fastest train, would span over eight hours. My kid memory only recalls that it was never long enough.
How sad is it that today, it would be unseemly to put children aged 9 and 12+ alone on a train for a day-long trip to a distant city? It was the adventure of a lifetime for us. And the funniest part? Back then, we did not have electronics to entertain us on the ride. We had books, and snacks, and maps that taught us not only where we were on the trip, but what history those destinations held. I cannot seem to remember if my brother was irritated to have me chained to his hip for the day or just happy to be the “adult in charge.”
Kids today will most likely never know that sense of freedom. I am so lucky that never in my youth did I live in any kind of fear that bad people would take me or hurt me. It was an age of innocence that is forever lost. And all of it was conjured by the shrill wail of a distant train whistle.
But here I am – back in reality. I am still blanketed warmly in the sounds of silence and comforted by memories of times long past. The fascinating news of the day is that my blog count has surpassed 3,095 followers. I have achieved a count that not even I could have imagined. All the nonsensical dread of the day vanished in a single moment. Life is good if we remember the reason for the journey. Ah, but that is fodder for yet another rant.
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