Saturday, October 29, 2016

Trains and Memories

 Now you see me, now you don't; in a second, I'll be gone

  I'm sure you never thought you'd see me rolling across your lawn.

  I just got off. This is my stop, it's where the train slows down

  I'm visiting a friend of mine. I came from out of town.

During my years growing up in West Virginia, I rode in a train about a half dozen times. I went from Montgomery to Charleston with my grandmother, rode to summer camp when I was eight and nine years old, and traveled to Washington D.C. with with the eighth grade school safety patrol.

I rode on the outside of the train at least a hundred more times. During my junior high and early high school years I did some bone head things. The most dangerous of these was "hopping" trains.

A few of my friends and I would run along side the train as it was passing through Glen Ferris. We would grab onto a rung of the metal ladders that were fastened to the side of the train car and pull ourselves up to where we could balance ourselves where the cars connected. I never said it was a smart thing to do, but I do admit to doing it.

We would do this to get a ride to the next town which was maybe four or five miles away. We wanted to visit friends in nearby neighborhoods.

Our most common destination was Charlton Heights where we had several friends. We also had a place where we always jumped off of the trains. We had done this enough that we knew just where the train was going the slowest. It was just after the curve going into town and directly beside the Cary's house.

We would tell our friends to look for the yellow ranch at the near edge of town. We would try to start running as soon as we hit the ground, but that never worked. We always ended up falling and rolling across their lawn.

I always wondered how so many kids could do something that stupid and never be seen. Riding and jumping off a train that ran along side Rt. 60 for a period of at least five years.

Fifty years later and I have become facebook friends with Corky Cary and his wife, Betty. I'm curious to know if he even knew about the many times that I "passed" through his yard.