As I lay in bed, ignoring the chirp, chirp of my alarm clock, I listen intently for the sound of my real wake up call to come chugging my way. A train would always come rolling slowly on the tracks up on the hill at the end of my block. The train has been passing by my house every morning for as long as I can remember.
When I first moved into my quaint two-story house, the rumble of the train on those tracks had scared the life out of me, and I always thought a thunderstorm was coming because It was so loud in the distance. I would hear it chugging its way toward my house when it was like three blocks away. I couldn’t see the train engine, but I sure could hear the grinding of those wheels roll across that steel track as it traveled passed me to who knew where.
Some mornings I would grab my robe and walk sleepily downstairs to the kitchen and pour myself a cup of coffee then sit outside on the front porch. I’d prop my feet up and let the cold morning air whip through my hair. I would have about a half a cup of coffee left in my mug by the time the train made it to the point where I could see the conductor. When I could see the front end of the train, sometimes I waved at the caboose? Eh, no, that’s the back end of a locomotive, the front is called a pilot, I think. Anyhow, all I know for sure was that it was always loud as ever by the time it would get to the point where I could see it. I’m pretty sure when I waved to the driver, well the conductor, I was sure he or she saw me because that horn would blare, HONK and keep on chugging.
The hill wasn’t a massive hill, and it only took 100 steps to trudge up to the top, that is just if it wasn’t all muddy. Yep every morning at 6:05, that clunky train came rambling down my way. I reached over to stop my alarm from snoozing, and I planned to get up once the train closer. Sometimes I waited until I heard the train faintly after it had passed and I didn’t wake up in time for work. I would make sure I got up right as the train was at its loudest point to make sure I wasn’t late.
I didn’t have anywhere special to be, I just always like get up and out of my bed when the train comes by, out of habit. Stretching, I could hear the train now, thunderously rolling along those rusty tracks. I raised up and threw my legs out from under the covers and sat on the edge of the bed, slipped my feet into my Marvin the Martian slippers and dragged myself to my bathroom to look out the window and watch the tail end of the train disappear out of sight. I wonder why I never complain about the train. I expect it to come by every day; it’s a part of my life that I enjoy, and one day it will be gone, gone forever.
I have two more months to enjoy the train that comes traveling down the end of my street, past my house. Some community leaders and members were in the neighborhood last week, and they were knocking on doors with a petition. A petition was that was asking for votes to build a sound barrier that would prevent the residents from hearing the train when it came barreling down the tracks every morning before the sun had even come out. They wanted everyone to sign and date the petition for a “YES” vote in favor of the sound barrier. I didn’t want to sign that petition, so I didn’t. The frail little woman that had knocked on my door looked amazed that I wasn’t in favor of building that barrier. Her name was Betty. I read her name from the sticky that was glued to her North Face jacket. I asked her, “Betty, are you going to be able to get that sticky off of your North Face?” She looked at me kind of sideways, like what did that have to do with anything, so I smiled. Then said “I am only asking you that because not too long ago my husband had gone into the emergency room from a heart attack, and he didn’t make it, long story short, the nurse gave me a sticky with my husband’s room number on it, and I anxiously patted it all crooked on my own North Face. My husband had passed away that night. When I finally got home, I had forgotten about that damn sticky. Then a couple of weeks later I tossed my North Face into the wash, and when it came out, it had these little white fuzzies’ all over it. The white part oh, all the pink and red had come off the white part, but the sticky was still hanging tightly to the fabric with that adhesive, only leaving white blotches where the sticky had started to peel off of my jacket. That North Face was ruined,” I giggled at that but the woman was staring at me with crazy eyes like I might be crazy so I stopped giggling and finished my story. “For twenty years my husband used to be the conductor of that train that loudly comes whizzing by here every morning at 6:05, and he always tooted his whistle when he saw me wave.”
“That train is a part of me, and it’s a part of my whole life” I sad sadly “I can’t sign your petition for that reason alone, The train doesn’t bother me, honey, never has, never would.”
I needed the train, to wake me up every morning.