Friday, May 10, 2013

Counting the train cars as they go by

I like trains. I like watching them go by. I like hearing their whistle late at night, even though it’s a rather lonely sound. I wonder where they’re going. I remember the feeling of riding on them, though it has been many years since I’ve been on a train.
When I was a teenager, my school bus, on one particular road, often had to stop for a train. I would try to count the cars as they went by. I usually lost count at some point, becoming confused as the train sped by, wondering if I had skipped a car or counted one twice.
These memories started a stream of memories that fed my Random 5 this week as I join once again with Nancy Claeys’ blog.


One
Larry and I enjoyed a picnic in the park on Sunday. I decided to get some shots of the train trestle that crosses part of the park.
I like train trestles. I like the sound the trains make as they cross them. I like the architecture, every part needed to hold up the weight of the train.






Two
I’ve been on a train three times. When I was in elementary school, my class took a school bus ride to Monroe, Virginia, in a county near my county. We got on a train there and took the short ride into Lynchburg, where the school bus picked us up. I was so excited.
In 1976, my family and I took two trips on Amtrak, one to Philadelphia and one to New York City. I loved visiting other parts of the country and experiencing the big city.


Three
I remember once sitting in the car, in the backseat, as a child and listening to my father count the train cars as they went by. He liked to count things.
My mother has told me that my paternal grandfather, my father’s father, counted a lot, too, including tobacco sticks as they were put up in the tobacco barn.


Four
One of my OCD compulsions is counting. I used to compulsively count letters on signs, working and reworking to get the total number to come out to a number divisible by three. Three was my magic number.
I also counted the steps I took, stairs I climbed, window panes, so many things. I did it to try to calm anxiety.
I don’t know if my father and grandfather had magic numbers, or if they felt a compulsion to count. But I wonder. I wonder if I inherited my tendency to develop OCD from my father’s family.


Five
When I was 12 or 13, my father asked me to count the cows. He had suffered a major stroke and was housebound for a time.
He raised Black Angus cows. No one else was home at the time, and he was worried about all of the cows being in the pasture.
I had such a hard time counting them. They kept moving, and I kept recounting. It took me a long time.
And my OCD kicked in. I worried so much that I would get it wrong and something would happen to a wandering cow and it would be my fault.

What, if anything, do you like about trains and train trestles?


40 comments:

  1. Growing up we lived on a big hill in the country. Woods below on one side, farms on the other. Underneath, a train tunnel.

    So we heard the train often, and a nice walk was down through the farmland to the bottom and then walking along the tracks for awhile :)

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    1. Debra, I bet living on top of a train tunnel made for some interesting sounds! I would have enjoyed that. Thank you for visiting and commenting.

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  2. Until our move out to the country some 10 years ago, I've always lived by train tracks and enjoyed the sound of the train whistles as they went by. :)

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Nancy. We live perhaps a mile--probably less as the crow flies--from the tracks. I notice the whistles mostly at night, as I'm lying in bed in the quiet house.

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  3. My boys love trains. We took them on the Cass Railroad about a year and a half ago. I've ridden the train to Boston and NY before. It was fun - I think it's relaxing to ride on a train.

    It would be really hard to count cows. Particularly black angus, since they all look so similar.

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    1. Lisa, they do look similar, and it was very hard for me to count them!

      I would love to ride on the train again. Larry and I have talked about taking the train to DC for a day trip. Driving up there is a nightmare.

      Thanks, as always, for stopping by!

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  4. I have always wanted to ride on a train but never have. When I was growing up with my grandparents, we lived near a railroad track so I was able to hear the train a few times a day. I miss that sound :)

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Keith. I think you should definitely take a train trip!

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  5. Oh I am sad that Keith has not rode a train he needs to do that:)
    I love the train I have always been fascinated with them I had not rode one until my oldest daughter moved away, I have not looked back I ride one almost once a month now. I love it I also count and make myself dizzy when they get up to about 200.
    Counting cows I still do that and I think you know why I usually count till I get the number I want and quit it is my system:)
    I understand about the genetics thing my Dad was the same way. Go on a train Tina you will love it and tell Keith to go if you are talking to him:) Hugs B

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    1. Thanks, Buttons. I had to laugh at your comment about counting cows. :-) Yes, I will ride a train again. Not sure where or when yet.

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  6. Tina,
    I have never been on a train. Where I grew up the NBSF RR has an active track. South of us, where my Grandma lives, the UP RR has a train go through town every 12 minutes with coal.

    I like even numbers. When I fill my car with gas I try to stop at even money. Many times I go 1 cent over and that is OK. When I set the radio it is an even number. I catch myself doing it frequently.

    Oh, the counting of cows. The Hubby and His Mom are our main counters. I can do it successfully, but they are the experts. I am sure I will be promoted one of these days. It is an important job and a bummer when one is missing.

    Have a wonderful weekend.

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    1. Thanks, Robyn. Counting the cows is important. I guess my father was so used to doing it, it was easier for him than it was for me.

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  7. I like the sound of a train, too. It takes me back to my childhood.
    My grandfather told amazign stories from his years working for the RR.
    He could imitate a train whistle and entertained us endlessly.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your memories, Tina. I bet your grandfather had some great stories! That's neat that he could make the sound of a train whistle. :-)

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  8. I love the trestles... We biked over trestles in the mountains... a lovely ride...then there was a forest fire and the trestles are no more... I love the whistle of the train..the town we lived in for 30 years ...had a train that blew it's whistle...you could here it all over town... I love that!!

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    1. Thanks, Bev. I like hearing the train in town, too. It's as if the train and its whistle are part of the town's environment.

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  9. When I worked in downtown Chicago, I rode the train twice a day 5 days a week...so trains don't have that magical quality they did as a child. But I did enjoy the gentle rocking back and forth...put me to asleep many a time.

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    1. Thanks, Deanna. I guess when you do something every weekday, it does lose it's magic.

      I could easily fall asleep on a train!

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  10. I like to photograph them. Or bike on them if they have been converted to a bike trail.

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    1. Thanks, Sharon. I like photographing trestles. Something about the way they look against the sky appeals to me. I've never tried to photograph a moving train.

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  11. I'm fascinated to read your account of counting. I love trains too, and still take them, we don't live that close to the track but can't feel the rumble as the freights pass during the night.

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    1. Thank you, Lynn. Sometimes I wish I lived in a place where trains were a regular part of life.

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  12. I love the clickity sound of wheels on the tracks, and the gentle swaying when riding a train. Never rode a train until I was living in Japan about 26 years ago. Your post brought back some great memories. Once I rode the bullet train from Nagoya to Kyoto - it just wasn't the same and not nearly as enjoyable (the ride was just too smooth, and fast). Trains bring a sense of comfort to me, thank you for that today.

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    1. Thank you, Becky. I'm glad this resonated with you. I think I would enjoy the traditional trains better than the bullet train, too.

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  13. When i was very young I had a summer adventure with my father's mother. We traveled on a train from Las Vegas, Nevada to Springfield, Illinois. Grandma did NOT like riding "backward." She needed to be facing the direction the train was moving - or she would turn rather green. The train went over the Mississippi river at St. Louis. It was flood season - so i saw a massive amount of muddy water, trees and other large items floating rapidly down river - and - the tops of trees on the Illinois side we almost covered - so it looked like they were tiny bushes. It's funny to think - this is where i live now. hmmm -
    Love to You!
    -g-

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    1. Georgy, thank you for sharing your memory of traveling on a train with your grandmother. That truly must have been an adventure for a young girl! And that is interesting that you live now where you saw such flooding.

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  14. i love trains - any type. always have. so fun!! ( :

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    1. Thanks, Beth. I think they're fascintating, too!

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  15. I love train tressles ...I wonder about where the trains are going and who might be on them

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    1. I wonder about the same things, Deb. There must be so many stories on each train. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

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  16. I love the sound of train whistles in the very early morning - I associate it with early childhood when I would lie in bed awake before breakfast and listen to the trains whistle on the track in our small town.

    Great 5 things - you do wonder how much OCD/anxiety are passed down!

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    1. Thanks, Anna. I can see signs of OCD, anxiety and depression on both sides of my family, so it does make me wonder.

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  17. We used to count the train cars on family trips. It was hard to keep track.

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    1. Thanks, Kristina. Some of them move so fast, you have to count really fast, so it is hard for me to keep track, too.

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  18. We have an old train trestle like that around here, but they're no used any more. When I was a little girl, we would go under it on our way to Church. If a train was going over, we would look for the caboose, and sing the song, "Little Red Caboose, Chug, Chug, Chug!" Every heard of that one?

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    1. Alica, I don't think I've heard of that song. But I do remember waiting to see the caboose. That was my favorite car. Thanks for your comment.

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  19. i started running a year and a half ago. began by counting my steps. as i built up stamina and knew my distance, i tried to stop counting. i still find myself counting to 100 and then starting over again w/o ever counting up to a total. :)

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    1. Tex, I've done something similar when jogging. It seems like the counting takes my mind off the pain of running! Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

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  20. i really enjoy these entries, you, sharing these wonderful parts of your life with us!!

    i absoultely LOVE trains and the whistle sound late at night and picnics, one of my favorites!!

    great images today, i hope you had an amazing weekend!!

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  21. Thank you, Debbie. I wonder what it is about the train whistle late at night that is so appealing?

    I hope you had a great weekend, too, and a wonderful week ahead of you!

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