Most winters the ole rail tracks crossing the trestle were just one of many interesting things we would pass traveling to and from school. To adults they were streams of steel to nowhere. They ran along the trestle, an old black iron and brown creosote eyesore, which unfortunately served the utilitarian job of bearing on its shoulders the tobacco trains coming in and out of the city. To us however, they would be a roadway to the world and beyond, if we ever got the time or the courage. We knew the rails didn’t end at our line of sight, they only began.
Most winters we had to hurry by quickly as we were on strict & tight schedules. School started promptly at 7:30 and Mother Superior waited for no child. On the reverse trip homeward, Mother would stand at the back door with Fathers watch in hand. Rewards of homemade cookies to be dispensed if we were on time or the sting of a pliable green switch if we weren’t. Nope, most winters there would be no time for real exploration…only potential for adventure could be gleaned and imagined as we crossed under the trestle.
However, some summer it would be the time, we would think. Summer would give us freedom from black & white habits and with parents out working in the garden, it would provide opportunity for us to run wild and explore. Stern warnings about the tracks would be given at the beginning of every summer; absolutely forbidden, would be the jest of the conversation, Yet we were young and bullet proof and the allure of the rails on us would be as strong as the prerequisite need of traveling the yellow brick road was to Dorothy.
Some summer we would gather the nerve to actually jump a train, but perhaps for now, in the cold and dreary haze of winter, imagining the adventure would just have to tide us over.
On Location, Monday:
The old rail tracks outside of Scranton