Sitting outside on a quiet morning you can hear the train whistle as it nears every crossing, warning cars that it's on it's way and since it's sooooo much bigger than you are, don't try to sneak around the gates to get to the other side, taking a risky chance that it won't catch you and squish you into scrap metal.
The whistle cadence is always the same. Whoooooooooo Whoooooooooo Whoo Whoooooooooo. Granted it sounds a lot better than it looks but you know what I mean. And when the breeze is blowing just the right way, you can also hear the clackety clack, clackety clack, as each wheel travels over each joint that connect the rails together. It sounds a lot better....etc. etc. etc. (At least my attempt at trying to convert words into sounds is better than some bird books I've read. Call is a low, harsh "cruck", a raspy "wreent", a dry, buzzy, staccato "ti-keer" ????)
The reason I love trains is because of my dad. He was a railroad man, waaaay back when, and passenger trains were in abundance, unlike now. Not the "glamorous" job of engineer, not the conductor who came down the aisle and punched your ticket (do they still do that?), but the behind the scenes electrician who helped keep them running. And best of all, he, and we, got to ride for free. A good thing because railroads were not known for their generous pay practices and I'm sure we never could have afforded to take the train as much as we did. At least once a year, sometimes more, we would go the Terminal Tower to catch a train to visit our relatives in Indiana.
I haven't been to that building for years and years, and have no idea what it's like now, but back then, to a childs' mind at least, it was amazing!! All shiny, clean, vast open spaces, with wide marble steps leading down to the boarding platforms. And then the train!!! The HUGE train with engines roaring and steam belching, coming through the tunnel, very scary and exciting at the same time, and causing a little girl to put a death grip on the hand that was holding hers.
Once safely inside, getting underway and sitting in a window seat, I was hypnotized by the scenery speeding by (probably lasted for a whopping 5 minutes before my attention turned to other things). I remember somebody walking down the aisle with a tray of sandwiches wrapped in wax paper for anyone who was hungry, and of course all of us kids were suddenly starving and had to have one. I remember the little restrooms which we also all had to use, and when you pushed the flush handle the bottom opened up and you could see the ground and railroad ties rushing past. I know I pushed that handle quite a few more times than was necessary because that was just fascinating to me, until we were finally taken back to our seats. I'm pretty sure that's one of the things that has been changed over the years.
The rest of the trip was spent jockeying around so someone else could sit by the window, being scolded for arguing, running back and forth to that restroom, and whatever else a bunch of young kids could get into. And then we were there and after a few days of visiting over here, over there, over here again, (ALL our relatives lived there) we got to do it all over again.
Over the years many memories fade and feelings change but my love of trains has stayed the same. Even now if I can get really close to one, I still get that sense of awe and excitement as I did when I was a child. I hope that never changes.
This, of course, is my favorite wind chime