Sunday, October 24, 2010


When I was 14, we moved into a trailer that we parked just across a field from the railroad tracks. The train had not stopped in that town for decades, so the freight roared through at full speed. However, there was a crossing nearby, so the engineer was obliged to lay on the air horn for the last several hundred yards as it approached our vicinity. This combined with the express itself penetrated the thin walls of our trailer as if the train was coming directly through the house, rattling dishes and briefly making conversation difficult.

After a while, we became so accustomed to the daily roar-throughs that we didn't notice it any longer, just automatically raised our voices when necessary. We became so oblivious to it that when my urban cousins came to visit from Dallas, we were all bewildered by the growing expression of horror on their faces. They all stood in obvious terror, looking around wildly, and Mama yelled "What on earth is wrong with y'all?"

My uncle said "My god, don't you HEAR that?" as the train blasted by.

"Oh. Yeah, that happens" we said, giggling at their reaction. We might have been trailer trash but we did know better than to actually park on the tracks.

Later that year, we got a Siamese cat for Mama's birthday, carrying it home with pride. The dogs were temporarily locked outside -- as was Blossom, the goat -- while the new fancy cat sat on Mama's lap and we tried to read its personality. Then, out of nowhere, the cat flew off her lap and ran headlong into the back window, hitting its head so hard that it crumpled to the floor, stunned.

As Bill went to pick it up, Mama said "Oh, no, we got one with seizures!" We were dismayed for a few minutes until we realized a train had gone through and the poor cat was simply trying to get away from it.

No comments: