I laid in bed in those quiet early morning hours and listened to the whistle of the train in the distance . . . it blows each morning long before the sun starts to make its way into the sky . . . dependable. . . steady. . . reliable.
What is an annoyance to some stirs up nostalgia for me. I grew up in the small Texas town of Luling. A river town that exploded with the oil boom of the early 1900s but was built by the railroad years before. A town known for oil, barbecue, watermelon, and trains. A town known, in its long forgotten rowdier days, as “the toughest town in Texas”. A town where secrets don’t exist . . . don’t even try . . . it’s impossible to keep a secret in Luling, and where you can’t walk down the street without meeting someone you know. A town where “oldish” men (sorry, Dad), and a few women as well, meet for coffee as the sun rises, and win or lose, high school football games reign supreme on even the hottest of fall Friday nights. The town where I grew up, met my husband, graduated from high school, and got married. The town to which I’ll always return for holidays, reunions, weddings, and to say my last goodbyes to old friends and beloved family members.
The railroad tracks run right through the center of town. At any time of the day or night, you run the risk of being stopped by one of the many trains that make their way through each day. In my teenage years, there was little doubt that if I was running late I would be on the opposite side of the tracks from my destination, and a slow train would have the impeccable timing of crawling its way through town clinching the certainty of my late arrival.
But the sound of those trains . . .
I lived just a block away from the tracks that split our town down the middle. I’ve always been a restless sleeper, and many a night, I would lay in bed in listen as the trains whistled their way through our sleeping little city. Those whistles that would seem so disruptive if you weren’t used to them, brought comfort . . . in those drama filled, ever changing, junior high and high school years . . . as I packed up to leave for college knowing I’d only return home to visit . . . on weekends home, seeing old friends at hometown football games and feeling the sameness of being back and yet, a new unfamiliarity that comes once you’ve left home and spread your wings a bit . . . over the decades as life has changed and I’ve grown older . . . I’ve always known, I still know, I can set my watch by the sound of those trains . . . dependable . . . steady . . . reliable.
I don’t live far from my hometown even now. Still, it’s not often find myself back home, flying through town, trying to beat a train, but I can guarantee that if I am home and running late, I’ll catch a train every single time. I can also guarantee that in our ever changing world, no matter where I am or where I travel, there will always be comfort in the sound of a train whistle, and I no longer mind so much sitting and waiting as a train passes by.
Copyright 2020, Courtney G Davis, All Rights Reserved The writings and images contained within this site are the intellectual property of this writer unless otherwise noted, and may not be copied or used without express permission of the author.