Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Hear the Train A Comin

There was a little delay in getting home this evening. Seems like the Union Pacific had their own adgenda and it didn't include my plans at all. I cross this piece of track twice a day, rarely am I stopped by the train. A couple of the cars behind me seem to be impatient, edging closer, trying to get a glimpse of the caboose. They didn't have much luck. This was one of the hundred long coal trains that are an every day occurance here. I don't mind at all. Waiting on the train reminds me to remember, to slow down and savor the stories of the past.

All the small towns in this area grew to prosperity and dwindled into shadows of themselves at the dictate of the railroad. Populations grew to provide the workers and services needed by major railroad round houses in Wymore and Fairbury. Even little Odell (above, pop 300 give or take) owes its location to the train. Years ago, Odell use to be located nearby but because of a change in the tracks demanded by the railroad, the entire town just picked up, buildings, kids, dogs, the works and moved to their current location.

When the glamour of railroads began to fade away, so too did the small towns. They didn't totally dissappear but they changed. The older folks have memories of busier days, prosperous downtowns and honky tonk nights. Somehow I doubt my own stories of past days will provide nearly the texture of these small towns. Suburbia, automobiles, fast food, television and life before the world wide web just doesn't seem to have the same texture.

1 comment:

Kira said...

It's a hard to find the uniqueness in an area now, isn't it?

Hard to see it and feel it, too.