Friday, May 30th, 2014
My grandparents lived in suburban Chicago, and one of their solemn duties when the small-town kin came to visit was to warn us of the dangers of trains. My grandfather took a train to an office in the city most days, and we’d go to the station to pick him up. Or we’d take the train in ourselves to sight-see, museum trips with a little extra thrill, launched as they were with warnings.
Don’t stand near the edge of the platform, of course, but also–and long before any of us were driving–don’t stop on the tracks, don’t drive across tracks at an angle, look both ways before crossing even if there are lights and a signal. Then some cautionary tale, always a different incident–although we heard more than once about the mother who could only get one child out of their stalled car.
Where I live now, the trains are freight and out in the country. Instead we tell tales about the river. The Missouri sluices past gravel bars and snags, muddy eddies made less opaque where creeks join the flow, but no place transparent enough to see the fish, rocks, or tree limbs underneath.
Don’t dive in. (more…)