Thursday, January 22, 2009
Every time we hear a train whistle, and if the atmosphere is just right we hear it frequently, like we hear the waves on Lake Michigan, Frankie stops and listens and begs me to go find the train and follow it. "I think we CAN, Mommy, I do think we CAN," she'll plead, and is always uncomprehending when I tell her I don't know where it is or we can't get to it quickly enough. "You DO, Momsie. You know where it is. Please, can you tell me?." But yesterday, we were driving my dad to a doctor's appointment when we heard The Whistle. Quick as a cat could wink her eye, I turned toward the train tracks that were a mere block away, and there, in all of its steely magnificence was an engine pushing a handful of oil tankers. It even had a name and a number: Griffin #179. Frankie was beside herself. She crowed, "I can't WAIT to tell my Dad!," and proceeded to chant "Griffin #179" over and over to emblazon its splendor in her mind. All the way home she mused aloud about the train. "I think that building there is its shed, Mom. I think SO! I do! I think that's where the engine sleeps! Wait, we passed it, Mom. Can we see it again, Mom? I THINK we can, Mom. I do! Maybe it's getting more coal, Mommy. Maybe the other engine is sleeping so it's pushing the freight cars instead of pulling them! THAT would be funny, Mommy? It would? I think it WOULD be funny, Mom. Hey, I think the train is over there! We can follow it, Mom? Can we? I think we CAN! I do, Mommy! I think we CAN!"