Thursday, September 8, 2005

When Life Hands You a Stalled Train - Make Lemonade

One Wednesday evening as I was taking one of Christine’s little friends home from church, we got stopped by a train on the track. Obviously, this train was not going anywhere soon because it was at a dead stop. We were two miles down Providence Road, and we only had to go about four more miles, but we were stuck. I decided that it would take forever to back track and try to get around the train—mainly, it was getting dark and I was afraid I would get lost.

So here we were, on a lonely country road waiting on a train. Simple Plan was blaring from my CD player and the girls decided to get out of the car and dance to the song “Jump”—“I just want to jump…JUMP!” The girls were having a ball. They were racing each other to the train track and then racing back. At one point they actually reached out and touched the train.

“I just want to jump…the future is in our hands”. Well, if the future is in our hands, then we’re stuck in the middle of the road out in the boonies, waiting on a train to clear the track—not to mention the fact we were right next to a hog farm and believe me, the smell was pure country. But hey, I can’t complain, I like eating bacon and ham.

On a whim, I got out of the car to dance, which caused the girls to become hysterical with laughter as they pointed and sniggered in my direction. By this time we had already been waiting 20 minutes and the train was still making no signs of movement. Christine and I decided to make a bet on which way the train would go when it finally started—East or West. Christine bet me one of her guitar picks that the train would head east. I bet her a blizzard that it would head west.

As it got darker outside, the girls climbed back into the car and started playing hangman. They were playing it orally instead of writing the letters down; I just don’t know how they do that. It is hard for me to understand a word if it is spelt out loud—I have to see it written down. By now, we were listening to Good Charlotte and Christine was skipping around on the CD to let me listen to different songs. There is finally a cool breeze blowing and I am glad we have good weather to have to wait.

The red blinking lights were hypnotic and I can feel myself falling into a trance. The girls have settled down to work on homework, so I guess they are finally using their time wisely. I am so surprised that we have not had another car come up to the tracks from either side. As I look down at my watch, I realize I may not get home in time to watch the West Wing—bummer, the storyline was just getting good.

After 45 minutes of waiting on the train, we were all staring to get bored and my patience was running thin. Then we saw car lights coming up behind us—I put on my emergency flashers because I didn’t want the car to run up on us. As it turned out, the care was my husband’s truck—he had gotten worried because Christine as I weren’t home yet and he had come looking for us. How sweet is that? I guess it’s my fault for not carrying a cell phone, but my life runs more smoothly with the least technology I am involved with.

By now, our music had changed to a combination of Sugarcult and My Chemical Romance. Christine is consistently amazed that I enjoy some of her music, but I find her taste in music is reminiscent of my past. Most of the bands she listens to were influenced by some of my favorite bands from the 70’s and 80’s. So, even though the lyrics may change, the music still has the same beat that makes me want to sing and dance.

Almost exactly one hour from the time we reached the train track, we got our first positive signs the train was ready to move. We could hear the engine rumble to life down the track as the cars started to vibrate. With a slow jerk of power, the train cars slowly began to move—headed east. I won the bet, so Christine said I could choose which guitar pick I wanted—as long as it wasn’t one of her autographed ones. I decided to let her make the decision. Of course, later that same week I felt guilty, so Christine ended up with a blizzard after all.

After riving less than two miles across the tracks, we dropped the friend off at her house and we were finally headed home. I was getting tired and it was getting late. Christine headed to the shower and I plopped down in my chair to mope the fact I had missed West Wing. I should have known not to worry, Keith had recorded the entire show on the DVR, and so I got the watch the show from the beginning. I told you I had the best husband in the world.

All in all, our little train delay turned into a great bonding experience for me and the girls. They got to act silly and they loved watch me be silly. So the next time life hands you lemons, just smile, do a little dance and think of all the lemonade you can make. Sometimes interruptions in our normal routine are blessings in disguise, so learn to make the most of what life has to offer.

© Bobbi Rightmyer, September 2005