Pardon me, boy, is this the Chattanooga choo-choo?
Don’t be calling me boy, you cracker-faced …
Excuse the little bit of racially-tinged humor that just kind of goes splat in the solitary world of written words. But then, what do I have to apologize for, anyhow?
I’ve recently been working on an essay about trains. I don’t know why. Apparently I was taken with the trains I have written and others I have known, not in the Biblical sense, of course. When I finish the piece and publish it here, if I publish it here, then perhaps you will know what I mean. If not, do like a chicken and cluck it.
Trains were once the stuff of romance and lore and fiery, often-steam encased, crushing death. I woke up in the middle of night humming “Wreck of the Old 97,” how Woody Guthrie or Jimmie Rogers is that?
Maybe in the days before planes, took off, so to speak, perhaps trains seemed something finite. One must remember that in the days before and during the Great Depression, especially those early American years before, life itself was much more finite than today. That isn’t to say life is finite, perhaps I should qualify that with living in the sense of breathing and possessing a heart beat. Someone out there knows what I mean, I’m sure.
But trains in their heyday were something personal and having a quality of something one, in a sense, owned. The “Old 97,” the “Wabash Cannonball,” “Hell Either Way You Take It,” or squatting around with hobos squatting around a dusty box cars tossing those bones and singing “Timpson, Teneha, Bobo and Blair … ”
Airliners, unless they meet some kind of unfortunate end, are mostly a model. “Have you ever seen Dallas from a DC-9 at night?” Better yet, have you ever seen a DC-9? Stevie “Guitar” Miller’s heart keeps calling him backwards as he gets “on that 707.” The late John Denver liked being way up there too, “Rocky Mountain High,” but he he got no more specific than a “jet plane” on which he was leaving. Yes, John Denver wrote “Leaving on a Jet Plane” although Peter, Paul and Mary made the famous before Denver himself saw popularity. Ultimately it was a so-called “experimental” plane in which Denver met his demise. I don’t know that I would want to fly in something experimental.
I suppose for romance of objects to work that a little anthropomorphism must be applied, and no that is nothing like Cruex. And so it is that I find myself using romance and Cruex in the same sentence, I think it is time for a wrap. For as Isaac Newton and countless others discovered, there is nowhere to go but down.