During the Spring, Summer, and Autumn months, my daughter and I usually take a drive on the weekends, ending up at some destination where a civil war re-enactment, historical event, or any type of festival that is occurring. This past weekend, we ended up in Sheridan, Arkansas, stumbling upon their 22nd Annual Antique Machine and Tractor Show. I decided to drive a few miles down the road to pick up my nephew and have him join us.
My daughter was in awe of the many tractors lined up around the courthouse square. Then she saw a train, set up with a passenger car and caboose and immediately wanted to get on it. It was a very windy day, so they weren’t able to set up the inflatables, but they did have a few other activities set up for children. I let the kids play for a little while, then we walked around the square, looking at all the tractors and machines and as well as a few antique cars. They had a few booths set up with knick knacks, crafts, jewelry, clothes, shoes, and home made baked goodies.
We followed our tractor tour with a trip to a few antique shops adjacent from the courthouse square. It didn’t take too long for the kids to become bored and for me to notice just how warm it was outside. We headed back to my sister’s house where we grilled hamburgers and hot dogs.
As I was putting my daughter in her car seat this morning I heard a familiar sound, faint in the distance. I paused and looked at my daughter, then said, “Did you hear that?” She looked at me curiously. I smiled then helped answer her curiosity, “I heard a train!” I suddenly had the spirit of my grandfather with me.
I was about the same age as my daughter is now when he would hear a train whistle blowing in the distance and get the same smile I was giving my daughter just then. “Want to go see the train passing by?” I asked with excitement. “Train?” she replied with a smile. I finish buckling her into her car seat, then buckle myself into my seat and pointed the car towards the train tracks.
Grandpa would carry me the three short blocks, from the house, to where the train tracks are. He had a fascination with trains. When we got to the tracks he would always count the engines and then count the cars. When the caboose passed by, we would leave.
I drove the three blocks down to the tracks, but didn’t see the train. I turned left and drove all the way down to the dead end and turned around. I continued on that street paralleled to the tracks, not seeing a train, nor hearing a train whistle; I guess it must have already passed through.
Even though they stopped adding the caboose years ago, but it’s still a habit to count the cars each time I’m stopped in front of a passing train.