National Train Day
– I couldn’t let today get by without observing this special day. I’ve loved trains all my life.
Train Day is celebrated on the nearest Saturday to the day the Golden Spike was driven at Promontory Point, Utah in 1869. Now the East and West Coasts were joined and people no longer had to travel the dangerous Oregon Trail to get from East to West. Train travel wasn’t that simple, though. For a long time passengers suffered from the holes burned in their clothes by cinders from the smokestack. Because my Dad worked for the railroad as a section hand – what Carl Sandburg called a gandy dancer – he received a pass from the railroad which my Mom used to take me to visit my Grandmother in Oregon every year. Because it was a pass we had to go the longest way possible and the trip took the longest part of 2 days. We went from Montana to Spokane to Seattle to Portland and finally arrived in Roseburg, Oregon at 2:00 a.m. But in those days the coaches were pretty and oh, the dining car – with white linen and silver service on the table. I don’t know what we ate, but I remember the oil smell and the steam hissing as the the train drew closer. The conductor would drop down from the train and put the little step in place and I would be handed up onto the train. Oh, magic! magic! There’s nothing on earth today like the sound of the steam whistle blowing across miles of prairie. It’s gone now.
If you’re looking for other reasons to celebrate, this is also Stay Up All Night Day, Mother Ocean Day, Windmill Day and World Lupus Day. Take your pick – and celebrate every day!