Author Topic: My Last Train Trip  (Read 1859 times)

Offline Alice, a Country Gal

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My Last Train Trip
« on: November 25, 2015, 10:33:01 AM »
The last trip I took by train was ages ago, so obviously not on one of the stream-line trains seen today.

The year was 1963. I remember because my third son was only a few months old. We were heading to my home town for a visit and my husband would come later by car.

When I first boarded I was surprised to find the passenger car almost filled with men in uniform, US Army uniform that is. A shuffling of seats took place after an order from a voice that was clearly use to issuing orders and having them followed. A set of facing seats was made available to me and my sons in short order.

The only person to join us on the facing seats was the owner of the voice that had giving the order a moment ago. It turned out he was the one in charge of the troop, I'm ashamed to confess I don't remember his rant. Yet the man inside the uniform made a lasting impression that hasn't faded after all these years.    

He asked questions about my boys, their ages, where we were heading, etc. He also share about his wife and their children. Over the miles as night took hold, we talked about a number of different things. Nothing too personal, but welcome to a young mother who spent most of her time in the company of the little ones and welcomed talking to an adult for a change.

About three or hour hours into the trip we arrived at a small town depot in the middle of (almost) nowhere and we all had to change trains for our destination.

Some of the solders asked the depot manager if there was a place near by where they could have a beer since we would be waiting almost two hours for the next train to arrive. He explained the small town were we were was dry (no alcohol sold) town but there a couple of miles down the road there a place where they could buy beer.

They weren't put off by the idea of walking that distance, so they set off by foot for their destination.

The depot manager looked at me, my sons and the array of baggage that was necessary when traveling with children and offered to drive us to a cafe if we would like something to eat. I agreed and he was nice enough to sit with us and have a coffee so he could drive us back to the depot later.

Returning to the depot later we found the Sargent (I'll call him since I'm unsure of rank) had returned alone, leaving his troop to enjoy their time on their own. He had also purchased some cookies somewhere that he offered my two sons old enough to enjoy them.

Shortly before the next train pulled in, the troop returned and we all took seats much as before. Once the train was under way, a couple of privates came to me and offered a large grocery bag, "We thought your sons might need something to snack on during the trip," they said, handing me the sack.

I was surprised. That sack was filled to overflowing with every thing imaginable to entice youngsters. Lots more than two young boys could possibly eat in the next few hours of our trip.

All I could do was thank them all for being so generous, before they beat a retreat back to their seats. Their Sargent was again seated next to me.

"I didn't tell them to do that. It was all their own idea," he said.

To make this long story a tiny bit shorter, the solders had to transfer trains again down the line. Before leaving they all came by our seats to tell us good bye and wish us well as we finished our trip.

This was my first exposure to a fair size group of solders and it left me with a good impression. They had interacted, talking to my boys as they venture up and down the aisle. Turned what could have been a lonely trip that I would have had to find ways to entertain my sons, into one they left me feeling a bit special due to all the attention given my boys and me.

I like to think I returned the favor in small measure years later to a different troop when I went to my youngest son's graduations from boot camp.

His unit was gathering at the foot of some steps so one of them could take pictures. I asked if he wouldn't prefer to join his buddies and let me take the pictures for him.

He agreed immediately.

Having taken numerous photos of school children, I was use to getting them to repeat a word that would bring a smile. With the youngest one I would ask them to say "pony," that always got a smile.

Considering the age group before me, I asked them to say "women." You never saw so many smiling faces.    

      
« Last Edit: November 25, 2015, 10:53:42 AM by Alice, a Country Gal »
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Offline Mastafrank

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Re: My Last Train Trip
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2015, 04:45:49 PM »
I'm sure it made a lasting impression on the boys... Great story ;D

Offline Alice, a Country Gal

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Re: My Last Train Trip
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2015, 05:01:07 PM »
I'm sure it made a lasting impression on the boys... Great story ;D

Thanks for the read and comment Frank. The boys were pretty young, not sure them actually remember it now. But they enjoyed it enormously at the time.  ;)
MWC Charity Publications.
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight>
The universe is made of stories, not of atoms. -Muriel Rukeyser, poet and activist (15 Dec 1913-1980)

R. L. Copple's: http://www.rlcopple.com/

I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.
-Mohandas K. Gandhi

Offline Mrs N

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Re: My Last Train Trip
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2015, 01:34:24 PM »
Oh, Alice, what a heart-warming story. Real feel-good. :)

Offline Alice, a Country Gal

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Re: My Last Train Trip
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2015, 04:42:35 PM »
Oh, Alice, what a heart-warming story. Real feel-good. :)

Thank you for your response Mrs. N.  :D
MWC Charity Publications.
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight>
The universe is made of stories, not of atoms. -Muriel Rukeyser, poet and activist (15 Dec 1913-1980)

R. L. Copple's: http://www.rlcopple.com/

I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.
-Mohandas K. Gandhi

Offline Gyppo

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Re: My Last Train Trip
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2015, 05:10:31 PM »
Lovely.  The kindness of strangers is often a wonderful thing.



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Offline Alice, a Country Gal

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Re: My Last Train Trip
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2015, 05:28:32 PM »
Lovely.  The kindness of strangers is often a wonderful thing.


And definitely worthy of being remembered.  ;D
MWC Charity Publications.
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight>
The universe is made of stories, not of atoms. -Muriel Rukeyser, poet and activist (15 Dec 1913-1980)

R. L. Copple's: http://www.rlcopple.com/

I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.
-Mohandas K. Gandhi