IT TAKES A LOT TO LAUGH; IT TAKES A TRAIN TO CRY
Perhaps it was T.V. I think we all must watch a little too much T.V. when we are young. Ya know, if that guy on T.V. can do it why can’t I? Well, anyway, Mom was nowhere near being awake at 5:30 in the morning. I, on the other hand, couldn’t wait to get up and start the routine of a three-and-a-half year old. Every day was a day of discovery with no responsibilities. See, Mom had all of the responsibilities of the two-bedroom apartment. She had to take care of me, which was probably a real pain in the you-know-what. She’d never raised a child before so she got all the help she could at her weekly Sunday afternoon meetings of Parents Without Partners. Oh, yeah, she had the phones, too. Not one or two like most people, but about twenty. They would ring in her living room, mostly at night when the doctors or the accountants were fast asleep and didn’t want to wake up, but couldn’t afford to miss a call. She’d probably saved more than one person’s life when she decided to wake the doctor in an emergency. When the phone rang later that morning, it wasn’t the doctor’s or accountant’s phone. It was hers and . . . and wait a minute, you don’t know why she got the call do you? Well, I’ll tell you.
I wandered downstairs to the kitchen, still in my Winnie-the-Pooh p.j.s. Ya know, the kind with the feet. I opened the refrigerator and there on the bottom shelf was my bowl of Lucky Charms. Mom always put milk on it before she went to bed so it would be just perfect for me in the morning. Soggy. I ate all of it and drank the milk out of the bowl when I was finished. I had been sitting in front of the T.V. and this guy came on. He was the one who did all of the connecting of train cars with ands and ors and buts. That’s all he ever did, ride trains all day long. (Conjunction Junction. . .) A light bulb came on inside my tiny head. We have a train in the back. I got up and walked to the back door. I struggled with the knob but it gave in and the door groaned with displeasure as I pulled it open. I walked outside. The sun was not yet up and I could feel the morning dew on my feet through my p.j.s as I walked to the very back of the back yard. I crawled through the bushes and there before me lay the cold steel tracks that always led to trains.
I started to walk in between the tracks. My legs were not quite long enough to each from one cross-tie to another so I crunched along in the gravel. I walked about two-hundred thousand million miles. Well, it seemed about that far to me. Finally I saw the caboose. I reached it just in time. I had a hard climb with the first step but the rest came easy. The train jerked and I fell down with a thud. As the train pulled away from the depot, a man was running after us yelling and waving. I yelled and waved back. We left him behind along with the train depot and my apartment. Soon everything was flying by really fast and my hair was blowing in the wind. Every time I tried to get up, I would fall back down again with a thud so I decided to just sit there and enjoy the scenery. Then we started to slow down. As we were slowing down, a whole bunch of men were running toward me yelling and waving like the last guy. I yelled and waved back at them. When we stopped, one of them came and picked me up.
“What have we here?” the man chuckled.
I just said, “Hi.”
He carried me inside the station and asked me who my parents were.
I said, “Mommy.”
He sighed and scratched his head. Apparently he was getting nowhere so he asked what Mommy did.
I said, “Phones.”
He asked if she worked at the telephone company and I told him, “No.”
He scratched his head again very confused.
Then I blurted out, “764-2094.”
He asked if that was her phone number and I nodded.
It was 7:30 when the phone rang and woke her up.