Someone should put up a plaque. “Boy crushed by train here” -- a page 1 story in 1910, but today you find no proof of his death. You stand near the tracks in the railyard at the center of this dying farm town -- not a train in sight -- and imagine the bustle of long ago. The train men, sooty and coarse; the trains themselves: big, black, smoking. And the boy doing a man’s job: “Marking cars” – whatever that means. He stepped backward when he should have stepped forward and that was it. “Killed by an Engine,” the yellowed headline said. The grain mills, the brick buildings, the train station with its mahogany floors, even the empty coffee shop across the way -- all those things the same back then. But of the horror, the despair, the heartbreak -- there is no sign. No sound of trains, either, the sound that drove his mother crazy. So distraught that she moved out of town and kept on moving until she finally stopped so that your grandmother could someday meet your grandfather and now here you are. Someone should put up a plaque. ###
Near the Tracks
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