“Time goes faster the more hollow it is. Lives with no meaning go straight past you, like trains that don’t stop at your station.” – Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind
My great-grandfather was a railroad worker, losing his leg to the Iron Horse prior to Prohibition. Apparently Great-Grandpa took the term “boot-legging” quite literally.
And then there was my grandfather who inherited that love of the rails. My grandfather had an old model train that my grandmother refused to let him set up in the house; a shame since I never did get to see it. I grew up knowing of my grandfather’s love of the railroad and now whenever I see them I smile wistfully with memories of my beloved late grandfather. My husband and I went on a road trip today, one of our Sunday drives. We decided to go to the Colorado Railroad Museum. Perhaps more exhibits will be open in the spring and summer months when it’s warmer. I’d like to take the grandson to the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge when he’s a few years old, just like my grandma and grandpa did with me and the rest of us grandkids.
My grandfather was a good man. He enlisted with the army but ended up being in the Air Force. I know he was overseas during the Korean War and that’s when he got his mermaid tattoo. My grandmother wasn’t fond of the fact that the mermaid’s breasts were bare so soon after his return Stateside he was at the tattoo parlor getting seashells added to the mermaid’s chest. This was the only tattoo my grandfather ever got.
My grandfather made a major impression on my life, we shared many things in common and he was the grandparent I loved being around the most. When we lost him in August of 1992 my world was shattered. No more would he put the Disney plate in front of his face as he spoke like Mickey Mouse to make me smile. No more summer days watching reruns of Batman with Adam West. No more would there be the combined laughter as we looked at The Far Side comics. I still feel this emptiness in my heart that will never be filled and every once in a while a tear streaks down my smiling cheeks. If I listen carefully I can hear the whistling of the train as my grandfather rides the rails of my memories.