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Edition #162, November 15, 2011


Writer: Carole Lucas   Photographer: Kevin N. Tomasic

                                                                            Photo by Kevin N. Tomasic


Thanks to Google, I always thought I was just one click away from answering any question.  So, when I met a nice guy in a coffee shop, it seemed only natural to turn to Google and see what I could find out about him. 


He told me he liked to photograph trains and had a few published so I Googled his name and trains.  That brought me to The Photographersí Railroad page. I was mesmerized by some of the beautiful shots. Suddenly, I recognized his name.  I clicked to enlarge the photo and read his story.  One line made me chuckle.  Another sentence showed the guy had a soft, sentimental side.  Okay, I read enough to safely assume heís not a crazed psycho killer.  So, thatís all I need to know, right? But no, I kept clicking on all the photos, didnít matter if they were taken by the guy I was contemplating dating or by total stranger.  I was amazed at some of the photographs and the stories that went with them. Who knew so many people were fascinated with trains? And, what is it about these old locomotives that unleashed the storyteller in these individuals?


Fast-forward a few months.  One Sunday he asked if I wanted to go for a drive.  He had his camera case with him and said there was a big steam engine we could catch in Cumberland, Maryland.  Sure, why not?  It was a sunny day; the trees were starting to turn lovely shades of yellow, orange and red and besides, he said heíd throw in a nice meal along the way.


At first I felt like a sociologist trying to understand a foreign culture.  Then I heard the whistle.  My eye darted back and forth from the boyfriend, adjusting his lens and muttering about the glare from the sun, back to the track, and back to the boyfriend.  I was filled with anticipation.  The train was getting louder, smoke filled the sky and for some reason, when the train came around the curve I felt a smile wash over my face. 


Any true railfan knows thatís not the end of the story.  We jumped in the car, drove a bit, jumped out and waited for the locomotive to come around another bend.  Then it was back in the car. Drove a little bit farther.  This time we didnít end up where he thought we would but we got out of the car anyway.  We walked along the track.  One moment it was so peaceful, the only sound was the crunch of the leaves under our feet.  Then we heard the train getting closer and closer.  While it was pretty cool watching the train approach us, the best part was watching the train go around the curve and disappear down the track, causing the leaves to flutter behind. 


Iím afraid even Google cannot tell me why it left such a lasting impression.  But it did.  


Carole Lucas

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Revised: 11/15/11 16:40:24 -0500