Today I Rode The Rails

But before I get to those thoughts I just saw the cutest photo from The Telegraph, and no it isn’t a cat. Or kittens. Or toddler. Well closer to the last one but not quite.

From 1958

How sweet are those faces?

Okay, I could go off onto that tangent, but will proceed as planned. Loosely planned.

Back to the rails.

When I was a little girl, bout five or six, we got our very first TV. Okay it was 1953ish. And sometime after that there was an old movie about hoboes jumping onto trains and riding from place to place. I wasn’t sure what a hobo was but they were always portrayed as nice ‘fellas’ down on their luck.

I must admit that the idea of being able to ‘hop’ a train appealed to me.

Riding the Rails during the Great Depression

https://livinghistoryfarm.org › water_07

Riding the rails was dangerous. The bulls were hired to keep hoboes off trains, so you couldn’t just go to a railroad yard and climb on

Today I took a much longer trip than anticipated on our intercity train, known as the LRT or ION.

First, I sauntered to our library to return a book, thinking I would have a lovely coffee at their Cafe, but the library was closed. They started closing on Sunday during COVID and have yet to change. Most inconvenient. Anyway, I put the book through the slot thingy, and headed downtown.

I had a mind to take the LRT to Waterloo -adjoining city- to Vincenzo’s, to buy some fresh pasta. But guess what? THEY WERE CLOSED!

So then I took the train the other way where at twice the distance, there was Farm Boy. The most delicious market, though more expensive than most.

Food aside, or I shall not be getting to the rail riding bit, it was my changing perspective and perception I wanted to talk about.

When I board the train I like to sit next to the big windows that look down on the rest of the world. Make of that what you will.

This time I chose a seat that had me riding backwards. A different perspective. Normally riding forward I see the lovely buildings and gardens and not much else.

This time, on this bright autumn Sunday I saw things that disturbed me. Partly because I had not noticed them before.

I saw an emaciated fellow hanging on to some scaffolding bars. I didn’t know if it was drunks, alcohol or if he was sick.

I saw people huddled in groups in dark corners of churches passing around a bottle.

I glimpsed some tents that were part of an illegal Tent City.

And I was troubled. And asking questions.

Why are some struggling so badly. Hurting. What can I do?

Funny thing, when I was that same little girl in front of the TV set I did not enjoy Christmas. Because on that best Day of all, when my folks had piled their five children into the backseat of the old car, to take us to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for feasting and laughter, on that One day, I saw a bedraggled emaciated, stumbling fellow wandering down a street. Alone and poorly dressed in the driving snow, and my heart broke.

I think of children being abused, and terrorized. I think of people all over the world who suffer.

And I keep asking the same two questions.
Why? How can I help?

I have helped one on one over the years but it is still so little.

When I lived in Uvalde Texas for a couple of years (yes that one) there was a large poverty stricken part where my nurses used to deliver Home Care. I had never seen anything like it and I cried every night for two weeks. And then I came to understand that if I had all the money in the world I could not cure that problem. Which is just one problem.

The other is the pain, hurt, and abuse that humans do to each other.

Here in Ontario a lowly paid Social Worker needs a Masters degree to work. High stress, high suicide rate, etc etc…………….

And that is how I got on to thinking about those riding the rails. As I did today.

Good grief!! Sorry about that! Otherwise the day and dinner was delightful!

So, from here North of 43, I do hope your thoughts are much brighter. Go bac k to the lovely faces on the young Fab Four!

Chris G October 2nd ‘22
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