ALL ABOARD, ALL ABOARD THE TRAIN TO NOWHERE.
“Have you tickets ready! Ma’am where are you headed, nowhere?”
” Mr. Conductor, I am going to nowhere, nowhere in particular, she replied.
“And you sir, where did you pick up the train?”
“I picked up the train at sunrise in Long Island. ‘The Long Island line is a very fine line.’
“Why were you in Long Island?”
“I live in Long Island. I wanted to go to New York City, to see the Statue of Liberty, but it is closed. Closed for need of repairs. They can’t get the lamp of liberty to stay lit.”
“Well, Son, would you look at that! See that train over yonder?”
“Yes, Dad! What is that ? I’ve never seen anything like it before.”
“Son, I think that is a steam engine.We’ll have to ask the conductor to make sure.” Sir, did you see that engine on the side rail, Mr. Conductor? Was that a steam engine.”
“Yes, sir, that is what it was, alright. They were something else back in the day. That is when this country was going somewhere. They didn’t know exactly where they were going but it was somewhere.”
“Hey, Dad, I just looked it up on the internet. Wow! Steam engines were used back in the 19th Century when this country was really going places. They taught us in school about how the Captains of industry worked with the government in partnership to help the country grow.”
“Oh yea, son, I remember now when people like, I think they were called Robber Barons. I think their names were like Carnegie, Morgan and Vanderbilt, and others, built our nation. ”
“Dad, everything now seems to breaking and rundown. We could use a steam engine.”
“Well, you had to build up steam, to move to get somewhere. I think they used wood to stoke the fire to make steam.”
“Dad what is nowhere like?” “And what time is it anyway?”
“The time is midnight. We are going to a place where we will see the results of neglect, and selfishness. You will see the wrecks and empty shells of what happens when apathy wins the day. The status quo brought us these broken bridges, and holes in the street that will break your car if you have one.” His Dad said wistfully. “It’s an outdoor museum. We don’t have the money to have museums like the old days, where you could go inside.”
“Son, remember that song we used to sing in camp? About Casey and his train?”
“Yea, Dad, I remember part of it, when we sang,’ I think we can, I think we can,’ when the train had a hard time going up the hill.”
“True son, but the train always made it up the hill. We were a different country then. We built things and made them, too. That seems like a long time ago. I saw a picture once of these people all dressed up like they were going to a party. The picture was of these people being on a train bound for Chicago and other towns across our country.”
“Dad, my teacher told me that we used to have a government that spent money on things like trains, roads and stuff.”
“Yes, son, that is when we had a government. You know that was before they privatized everything. We even had big trains with I think they called them diesel engines. They could move a whole lot of things west on those trains. We’re like the caboose, now, at the tail end of our greatest days. We’re like a ghost train, full of memories and old photographs of what we were like back in the good old days.”
“Daddy, I remember seeing a picture of an old city called New Orleans. They had some big hurricane that came through town in 2020. The town was swept away. My teacher told me that if they would have built the levy like the Dutch wanted us to, it could have been saved. But they were too cheap to do it. Well, that is what he told me.”
“Yes, son, my Daddy told me how he would take the train all the way to Los Angeles from New Orleans. He told me they called it the Sunset Limited. They were not limited in their imagination in those days. They even went to the Moon. Some people deny it though, claim it is a hoax.”
“Daddy, was that before the great flood?”
“Yes, Son! People never believed it would happen. We used to have a city called Miami, but it is gone now, washed away!”
“They showed us an old news reel the other day about how people died when bridges collapsed. And it showed all of these huge sink holes because of something called fracking.”
“Yea, son there was a lot of denial in those days.”
An old gentleman piped in. “Yes, young man this country used to be something to go and see. We were on top of the world. But we were too near sighted and cheap to pay for what was needed and things just decayed.”
The conductor came by and asked the old man for his ticket. “I need to punch your ticket, sir. Are you going to nowhere?”
“Yes, I am going your way, now, but I’ve already been somewhere. I’m just back to see what nowhere looks like. I am in the sunset of my days, and I’ve never been to nowhere. I just dream these days of the trains bound for glory. But I want to see the sunset, before it is too late. I can still hear the roar of the wheels on that train the Sunset Limited. It was a beautiful sight.”
The conductor came by to announce to all of their arrival. “The train did a good job of getting us here.” The conductor said.
“Wow Dad, we’re really at nowhere.”
“Yes, young man, we’re there. And look at that sunset.”
The Conductor did his job and announced to all who could hear,”Ladies and Gentlemen, we have arrived at Nowhere. Don’t forget your luggage.”
As the writer of this piece, I want to thank Savoy Brown for writing the song,”The train to nowhere.” It gave me the idea of writing this little essay.
Another good scary story, you sure make folks think.
Thank you. It is my hope that these essays will give some people a reason to pause and think.
So, Gar, does the stop at Nowhere overlook Nothing?
Ha!Ha! Even nowhere overlooks something. I am not sure you can have nothing.