The sweet little town of Clifton, VA has been mentioned here before. It's a favorite place to take Abbie for us because of the quiet neighborhood, the fun playground in the park and the overall hometown feel of the place.
At the North end of Clifton, a railway runs through. Clifton arose as a railroad town, afterall. The rails are still used as Amtrak and freight trains thunder along them, even though they don’t stop there anymore.
Next to the tracks is an old red caboose. They have left it available for people to climb on to get a faint taste of what the railroads meant to America.
I have a lot of railroad blood in me. My great grandfather was a brakeman for the railroad for some time. One of his sons, my grandfather’s brother, also worked for the railroad in his younger years as a welder. Another son of his had a love for trains, emphasized by an elaborate model train set which dropped down from the ceiling in his basement. Finally, my own grandfather -- who passed along his love for trains to me by taking me to a park in downtown Salt Lake City to play on the old steam train there. I can also remember seeing the Bicentennial Amtrak train with him when it stopped in Salt Lake City in 1976.
The Americana in me also comes from my other great grandfather who was a "hobo" during the Great Depression, walking the highways and jumping boxcars across the country three times.
So naturally, some of this railroad blood runs in Abbie. While her mommy and I were with her in Clifton today, I wanted to get a few pictures of her on the tracks. Abbie had no reservations about walking the rails and ties, studying the rocks on the ground and the wooden planks which held the tracks down. She too loves trains. She has a couple of trains made of wood or plastic which she loves to play with. When we are in Clifton, she first heads straight to the “choo-choo” in the playground. And, of course, at seemingly random times in the car, she’ll shout out, “Choo-choo twain!”
One day I hope to share more of that railroad Americana with her by getting her a little electric model railroad, build on a sheet of plywood like the one I had when I was her about her age. There’s a wonderful fascination she has with trains that I hope she never loses.