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Hometown Feature

by Lori Davis about a year ago in humanity

Childhood Memories

The Old Tracks

Hometown Feature

When I think back to my hometown I think of simpler times. It’s almost like a Mayberry type of town; we had a small police station with just a couple of officers, a fire station, furniture store, grocery store, ice cream parlor, bowling alley, multiple gas stations (the old man hang out spots), bars, American Legions, churches, an old hardware store (with the hardwood floors that crackle with every move), and everyone knew one another. This was sometimes good and sometimes bad. We were just a bleep on the map. There were only stop signs at the end of side roads and no need for any stop lights. A few unique, historical things to this old town includes the old salt mines at the park they keep a keep about a ton piece from one of the mines. There is a rich history of one of wars, we dig up old stuff from that era in the yard frequently and there is some chatter of the Underground Railroad.

This brings me to the actual double railroad tracks. I used to walk the tracks a lot as a kid and still do today though not as often as I would like. There are still wondrous sights to be found! Little creeks, side trails and bridges just to name a few. As the walk continues there are old railways spikes lying around as well as old brackets and iron ore pellets that have fallen off of some the loads the old trains have hauled. My dad and I used to fill our pockets with the iron ore and compare them according to size when I was a growing up. He would explain to me what they were used for and where they might be on their way to. It was always a learning experience when he went on the walks with me but that’s ok because there was always something different and interesting to see and I was a bit on the nosey side and just had to know about it.

The railroad tracks actually go through my back yard of the homestead where I grew up. In the late 1900’s, the house was lifted, moved backwards then placed on a new foundation. This allowed the railways to continue through. As a kid the biggest thrill would be hearing the big engine and whistle from a distance and then running to the back porch to watch the train while trying to catch the conductor’s attention to get that extra whistle blow! What a thrill it was when it worked! I also liked waving to the one riding the caboose, we don’t have those anymore.

In later years the train became a soothing, relaxing escape instead of pure excitement. We tend to lose part of that simplistic excitement when we get older, our lives become more complicated and our processes of the same experiences alter a bit. The sounds of the whistle, the clacking of the wheels against the iron tracks all in perfect rhythm. Even the smell of the burning coal that fuels engine and the steaming hot grease on the tracks brings an inner peace that can never be found anywhere else.

Now days, not much is left in the old town; the grocery store, bowling alley, most of the gas stations and bars, furniture store, hardware store, ice cream parlor, all gone. Not much is left that resembles my childhood memories. The only familiar is the railroad tracks. Sadly, only one set is being used. I remember how fascinating it was when two trains were going on both the tracks going different directions at the same time. So close to touching and going so fast!

The sounds and smells, however, are exactly the same and are just as soothing. It doesn’t matter if I’m on the old back porch, walking a set of tracks, or simply just hearing a train in the distance somewhere. The old feelings are just as new now as they were when I was a child and they will always take me back home.

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About the author

Lori Davis

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