When Bill and I became serious about Wind Crest, we were driving here for the millionth time to look around and try to make a firm decision at last. Despite our many trips here, it was only then that I noticed that there were railroad tracks that ran past the development. I’m not talking about light rail, though there is a light rail line not far from here. I’m talking about heavy tracks for regular old choo-choo trains that haul goods and people (mostly goods here in the United States) from one place to the other.
“Ooo!” I said to Bill with excitement. “There are railroad tracks right here. I wonder if you can hear the sound of the train from the apartments.”
Bill didn’t know the answer to that question. But he did know that I wasn’t expressing concern about the sound of trains being a bother. He knows enough about me to know that the sound of trains would be wonderfully familiar to me.
I grew up in a midwestern community where trains came through town frequently. During my formative years in that community, I’m pretty sure Union Pacific ran a train through Columbus every 15 or 20 minutes or so. At least it seemed that often to me. I remember that it was never a good idea to run late if you were making your way from one side of the town to the other, because the chance of being stopped by a train were about as high as the chance of the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center lighting up the first time it’s plugged in. (Although, to be honest, I can’t quite envision an electric cord running from the giant tree to a plug-in in the NBC news building.) There was only one viaduct in town by which you could drive over the train. Though the town was small, it still was inconvenient to drive over to the viaduct if you were in a hurry.
The trains were loooong. And at that time, they had a caboose, with a human on the caboose. That human likely had some sort of important job on the train, but as far as I was concerned, his only job was to wave to the kids standing near the tracks as it whizzed by.
I had a number of relatives who lived near the train tracks. In fact, one of my uncles lived literally across the street from the tracks. Another lived a couple of blocks away from the tracks. Shortly after Bill and I were married, we visited Columbus. My aunt and uncle graciously offered to let us stay with them. That night, Bill remarked on the frequency of a train passing by, tooting its train horn to warn cars and pedestrians that they were coming. He had difficulty sleeping, but the sound of the train was soothing to me.
After we moved into WC, I forgot about the train tracks. I forgot, that is, until the other morning when, for whatever reason, I heard the sound of a train whistle for the first time. I stopped what I was doing and could hear the sound of the train passing by on the nearby tracks. Since that day, I have heard the train every morning, and some afternoons. I don’t know why suddenly I can hear the train, but I will tell you that it makes me feel happy to hear that familiar sound.