ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The 6:10 Eastbound is Leaving the Station: A Short Story

Updated on September 23, 2015

All Aboard

Two-hundred tons of metal hums with harnessed power. Thirty-two hundred horsepower, sixty-four thousand pounds of thrust, vibrating, awaiting the push of a button. This ain’t no Tonka Toy, baby; this is an engineering marvel that revolutionized society, spanned continents and propelled commerce from sea to shining sea.

And today it’s my silver bullet aimed at a bulls-eye of adventure.

All Aboard!

Step right this way. Up you go, now, careful of that next step, perfect, perfect, now let me see your ticket, right down this aisle, any seat will do, get comfy and we’ll be underway soon, very soon. We hope you enjoyed your stay in the city by the bay.

All aboard the Continental Express, and the whistle sounds off and the horses strain at their leashes, a vibration spreads through the cars, through the seats, whoa, boy, easy, boy, slowly now until we’re outside the station where you can run loose and free.

Kick her in the flank and away we go! It’s time for this boy to experience life.

Leaving the station
Leaving the station | Source

Purple Mountain Majesty

The sun rises behind them, creating a trick of the eye, green, forested slopes turning purple, shadows spreading west across the valley we now traverse. Through lush farmland we go, slowly gaining altitude, the soil changing beneath the tracks, the air clearing as civilization falls behind and nature dominates the scene outside the windows. Shimmering lakes nestled in glacier-carved nooks and crannies, raging rivers pour from the Sierra Nevada, flowing westward as we push eastward, born in snow-capped wombs at ten-thousand feet, tiny trickles joining millions of the same, brooks to streams to rivers, the life-blood for millions on the west coast.

The lady next to me yawns and stretches, feline movements, graceful, economy in motion, about forty, maybe a little younger, blond hair cascading over her shoulders, a heart-shaped face with ample lips, she grins at me, turns my temperature up, melts me. Across the aisle a young mother has her hands full, two young ones with her, the noise rising with the elevation, it’s going to be a long trip if they don’t settle down, and here comes the porter, tickets please, click, click, check, check, a rhythm developed over years riding this route, good morning, welcome, glad you’re with us, click, click, smile and he’s gone.

We crest one final hill and begin the descent into the Great Basin, pines replacing firs, dryness replacing wetness, into the bosom of a slower pace, a grand place of deserts and scrublands, dust, dirt and doldrums, shimmering golden in the morning sun, the promise of heat to come. This is a land pioneered by hardy stock, never-say-die folks who saw a challenge and said “to hell with it,” rolled up their shirtsleeves and broke their backs taming an untamable land. No water, no problem, change the course of mighty rivers, soak that baked soil, build homes out of mud and rock, find a way to make it work because baby, nothing is free and everything is hard-earned.

Dust-caked steers bellow good morning as the iron horse roars past with a blast, so long for now, catch you on the return trip, wish we could stop and visit but there are even bigger mountains to conquer just ahead.

Down the aisle two old men play chess, faces chiseled like Rushmore, each move weighty, pawns and rooks, knights and kings, bragging rights at stake in this ivory battle, old friends enjoying the interaction, comfortable in each other’s skin. Past them a young man, seeker of dreams and adventure, or escaping busted dreams, lifts a paper sack to his lips and closes his eyes as his liquid lover spreads her loins and invites him inside.

Power and majesty
Power and majesty | Source

The Rockies

Back in the day of covered wagons, these “sentinels to the west” broke many a back and dream. As the 6:10 begins to climb once again, it is easy to imagine Jim Bridger waving from a distant ridge, talking to his buddy Jedidiah, planning their next trapping adventure, keeping a watchful eye out for Cheyenne and Crow, blood-thirsty bastards intent on holding on to their slice of this craggy paradise. If it weren’t the Indians that got ya it were the grizzlies, or the gut-shot accidents, or dysentery or cliff-falls or a hundred different ways a man could die in the wilderness.

But those days are gone now. The Rockies are as tame as they’re ever likely to be. The beaver are making a comeback, the eagles soar, the deer feed in the meadows as paradise restores itself and now serves as a vacation destination for those looking to escape the insanity of humanity.

The inhabitants of this steel sleeping chamber close their eyes and allow the rocking to send them off to dreamland. The lights dim, the interior matching the exterior, darkness speeding through darkness. In the back two young lovers hold each other, a gentle kiss, smiles of everlasting love, their whole lives in front of them, unlimited possibilities await, for better or for worse till death do you part.

The Continental Divide is crested and the landscape transforms once again. Spread before us are the Great Plains, the breadbasket of America, a thousand miles of checkerboard flatness, constant wind, shallow, murky rivers and dust-caked existence. We all stretch, we all listen to the growl, the rumblies in our tumblies, and we shuffle to the dining room, eggs scrambled, eggs flipped easy, eggs with Benedict, whoever he may be, a side of toast, some meat on the griddle, coffee, God please give me coffee. I nod to the lady with the golden hair, she showers me with the gentle rainfall of her smile, our hunger shifting from food to baser needs.

The Heartland
The Heartland | Source

Waves of Grain

An ocean it is, an ocean of golden stalks of wheat, bending in the breeze, an undulating, living force, planted with care, nurtured, watered, cussed at, prayed over, dependent on the weather, the same weather that can crush dreams with a random funnel cloud, a spring hail storm or drought so unmerciful as to bring the strongest farmer to his knees in supplication. The huge combines roar across the land. The towering sprinklers, like prehistoric monsters, try to provide moisture to a land desperate for it. Farmhouses dot the land, surrounded by thousands of acres of rich, glacial soil, connected by roads so straight as to seem an illusion.

Family farms carved by hand, lost in the Great Depression, re-claimed as corporate entities, still providing food enough to feed several nations, so much wheat, so much corn, so much barley, oats, turnips, onions, lettuce and anything else a hungry civilization desires and needs. This is the America you won’t find in travel brochures, no Disneyland here, no towering skyscrapers of commerce, just dirt and sweat, labors of love and broken dreams, all carrying on traditions now hundreds of years old.

The train toots its horn as it passes silos and enormous barns, small dust clouds swirling in the distance, the sun baking down and the sky so blue as to defy belief. This is the heartland, the backbone, the blood and guts of this country, and as our train approaches the Mighty Mississippi, the spirits of the pioneers bid us farewell. It passes by as I share the lady’s cabin, the gentle swaying an aphrodisiac, tangled in sheets, sweat glistening, dancing a dance as old as life itself. Good morning, America, how are ya, Arlo sings as the steel wheels dance across the steel highway. Her name is Sarah, with an “h” she tells me, an important distinction evidently, but for the life of me I don’t care, can’t muster up a smidgeon of interest in one silly letter when I’ve just experienced her entire alphabet.

One leg of the trip completed
One leg of the trip completed | Source

The Great River

Late afternoon as the arch appears and the sprawling city on the legendary river spreads before us. Switching trains here, the seven-o-two for Charlotte or the seven-fifteen for New Orleans, don’t make no never mind to this traveler, one’s as good as the other, foot loose and willing to see it all. We depart the steel stallion and are assaulted by the sounds of commerce and the smell of decay, or is that the sounds of decay and the smell of commerce? Somewhere nearby sirens announce misery. Somewhere nearby barges haul the last load of a busy day, not unlike the scene played out daily for hundreds of years prior, same shit, different day, tote that barge, lift that bale, round and round we go.

Commuters rush to their cars, eager to see the wife, hubby, kids, dogs, cats and white picket fences, another day in the bank, another day closer to eternal rest, hustling and bustling, to and fro, a big city shifting down the gears but never finding neutral.

“Where are you headed?” she says to me and for the life of me I have no answer. “One place is as good as the other,” I reply, and our eyes meet and the decision is made, two travelers become one, at least for the next leg of the journey, dancing the mating dance, the loner from out west and Sarah with an “h” heading south on the “City of New Orleans,” leaving the station at seven-fifteen on track number nine.

All aboard!

2015 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

Authors note: my thanks to Arlo Guthrie and “The City of New Orleans” inspiration.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • prettydarkhorse profile image

      prettydarkhorse 21 months ago from US

      Very nice, I always like train rides.

    • profile image

      Larry Kitzmann 21 months ago

      As said before my friend you are at your best with these pieces. This is the the America all to many people don't know may never know. Many thanks......

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I do too, Pretty...obviously. :) I'm glad you hopped on-board for the trip. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Larry, it's always good to see you. Thank you! I'll be doing more of these in the future. I've found my creativity again and it's nice to have it back close to me. :)

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 21 months ago from New York, New York

      I truly felt like i was on this train ride with you! Beautifully written Bill and Happy Wednesday once again :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Janine. I'm glad you enjoyed the trip. Have a superb Wednesday! Happy first day of Fall!

    • FatBoyThin profile image

      Colin Garrow 21 months ago from Kinneff, Scotland

      Wonderfully descriptive piece, Bill, cheered up my day no end. Thanks for sharing (btw, when is part two due? I want to know what happens with Sarah!)

    • profile image

      Larry Kitzmann 21 months ago

      Glad to hear that my friend. Spent two years on the front range of the Rockies trying to restore some sanity in my life. Your insights and expressions of same are both respected and admired by this reader.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 21 months ago

      It's very vivid, Bill. I've noticed an anger in your fiction. Is that intended or is this just a tough guy stance that I'm misinterpreting?

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 21 months ago from New York

      Oh happy day! Your creativity is marvelous. I could feel the gentle rocking of the car and the speed of the train. I could see the glorious sites so well described, out the window. Of course the little side of romance/sex wasn't a bad thing either! From Indians to commerce your story was fun to read and a journey to be enjoyed.

    • social thoughts profile image

      social thoughts 21 months ago from New Jersey

      What a fun adventure, Bill! You know how much I love your writing, so this was such a joy to read and experience in the mind. Beautifully done, my friend!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      FatBoy, I'm glad you took this trip with me. As for Sarah, I'll have to ask her if she's interested in another story about her. :) Thank you sir!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Larry, thank you! I'll try to never let you down.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, gosh, I didn't realize it was that prominent. Is it intended? I guess so....I like to write about the down and out, the strugglers, the addicts, the fringe of America, and I believe there is frustration and anger in those folks....I guess I accomplished that. LOL Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate that, Mary. I'm glad you enjoyed the trip. I'll let you know when we take off again.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Good morning Kailey! It's nice to have you visit this early in the day. Thanks for taking the trip with me....I'll let you know what happens with Sarah. :)

    • mactavers profile image

      mactavers 21 months ago

      Great train story/travel experience. I've often wondered what became of "instant" friends we have met on our train travels. A couple of fun train rides in our area of Arizona are the Grand Canyon Railway from Williams to the South Rim, and the Verde Canyon from Clarkdale to Perkinsville.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 21 months ago from The Beautiful South

      This was great! Ever since I was about five years old and went with my grandparents to pick up their daughter, my favorite aunt, I have wanted to ride on a train, but never have. Thanks for the chance! lol

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for stopping by, mactavers. I've never been to Arizona, an odd fact since I've been to so many other states. Maybe one day I can take that train you mentioned.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 21 months ago from Shelton

      wonderfully drawn my friend Billybuc knows how tospin a tale, well paced and so realistic. Awesome my friend

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure, Jackie. I took Bev on her first train ride a couple years ago...she loved it and you will too.

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 21 months ago

      Billy, Thanks for the ride, it was great and actually brought back some memories.

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 21 months ago from Mesa, AZ

      What an awesome ride! Fantastic imagery! I wish I was there now. Thank you, Bill! I'd forgotten how much I've missed this.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Frank. We haven't taken a vacation in four years so I have to do it with my imagination. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad to hear that, Mike. Thanks for riding along, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Randi, it's good to see you again. I'm glad you found the time to stop by. Thank you!

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 21 months ago

      I enjoyed the trip and I didn't even have to pack! You are an amazing writer, and I love every single thing you pen.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 21 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Amazing Bill. Thanks for taking me along on the train ride. I worked for the railways for 17 years and travelled over most of Australia by train. I loved the adventure. Very well written hub.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 21 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Amazing Bill. Thanks for taking me along on the train ride. I worked for the railways for 17 years and travelled over most of Australia by train. I loved the adventure. Very well written hub.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 21 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Dear Bill,

      Trains have been magical for me since I was a little girl, as my Dad was a conductor.

      This whimsical and creative piece takes me right back to the days of our train rides to Georgia to visit family.

      Your creativity may have taken a short nap but has awakened all the better for it.

      Love, Maria

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Pop. That means a great deal to me.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      What a great job that would be, John, or at least it seems to me it would be...thanks for sharing and thanks for your kind words.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      and thank you again, John. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Maria, how cool, a father who was a conductor. I don't know why but that just sounds very exciting for a child. Thanks for sharing that...and for your kindness...and for your friendship.

      love,

      bill

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 21 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      That was quite a journey with my coffee this morning thank you. The engine of your words easily towed your passenger cars across the page.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 21 months ago from SW England

      What a great story, bill! I love trains and I love people-watching and wondering where everyone is going.

      You are so good at painting pictures and weaving the landscape into vibrant fields and majestic mountains and that old train, well....

      That's the best journey I've been on in a long time. It made me smile and it made my heart sing, along with your words bathed in melody.

      Ann

    • Mr Archer profile image

      Mr Archer 21 months ago from Missouri

      Excellent my friend! Only once have I ridden a train but I felt as though the years had rolled back and I was ridin' the rails once more. Thanks for trip down memory lane (or tracks).

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 21 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Nice journey through the beauty of nature in the company of your smiling dame. Thanks for sharing it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Mike! I think I'll dedicate it to my father, who rode the rails in search of work during the Great Depression at age 15.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, that may be the most melodic comment I've ever received. Thank you my friend. I'm glad you enjoyed the trip.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure, Mike. I appreciate you taking the trip with me.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      A smiling dame for sure, Venkatachari M. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thank you always.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 21 months ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Nice, Bill. This made me think of driving across country on I-20. What an amazing scenic journey!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Very true, Rebecca. I'm not sure I could sit in a car long enough to do another long, cross-country trip, but I've done several and it was amazing for sure. Thanks for riding along with me.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 21 months ago

      One of our dream vacations is to take a train ride across the west. The 610 visually inspires me to consider it seriously. Thanks for the ride showing us America at its best.

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 21 months ago from Nibiru

      never been on a train. Always plane and car. very descriptive hub. Sweet

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 21 months ago from Hollister, MO

      What fun! Two days in a row I've been encouraged to take the train across the country in conversations... perhaps there is a message in there for me!

      Thanks for sharing this writing exercise with us! You did good!! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Dianna, if it has done that then I'm one satisfied writer. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Clive. Glad you liked it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, I would definitely call that a sign! Get those tickets bought, young man, and thank you!

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan Robert Lancaster 21 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Was that 06.10 or 18.10, and what was the motive power?

      Alternative scenario:

      "I'm sorry, Sir. This ticket is for Atlanta. If you wanted to go to New Orleans you should've notified the ticket office at the last station. That'll be $150 including issuing a manual ticket, otherwise I can issue a $50 ticket for you to go back and change - next train from there for Atlanta is 03.45. Enjoy your journey".

      Shucks, Bill. It's only about 500 miles from Penzance to John O'Groats. It would only take a bit over a day by train with maybe three or four changes. Did you have to rub it in? Mind you, some of the cross-country trains make it a grind (Penzance-Bristol Temple Meads, Temple Meads to Birmingham New Street, on to Sheffield Midland and York, then Edinburgh, change again for Inverness and take a taxi), and you'd need a calculator to work out when you get to 'B'. (I'm told that in the last war my mother-in-law took 48 hours to do London-Inverness - her husband was in training up there - but that was because all the military traffic had priority).

      Oh, did I tell you I liked the story?

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 21 months ago from london

      I guess that's the way that things used to be. Are they making a comeback?

      Sweet and simpler in some ways. How life has changed! Carry on, Bro.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 21 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, this is where you truly shine. I could see and hear every mile of the journey. It was like being there right beside you (but glad I wasn't--would want to get in the way of you and Sarah). Have you ever thought about putting together a compilation of stories and publishing them. If it's good enough for King....

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Alan, my first impression is that you live in a much-too-small country. Things are too compressed there. We can literally travel for hours and not see any signs of civilization in some parts of this country...still rather remarkable to me.

      I'm glad you enjoyed the story. I was wondering for awhile. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Manatita, the trains are still alive and kicking here. In fact, I think they are making a comeback and becoming more popular, especially with the Baby Boomer generation.

      Anyway, blessings heading your way, and thanks always.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      My goodness, Linda, all these books being suggested to me. :) Thank you for your kind words. Maybe when I finish the five projects I'm currently working on I'll try your suggestion. Thank you for it.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 21 months ago from Southern Illinois

      This reminded me of a time when I was about 4-5 and was on a train with my sister Stella and her husband Eugene. We were going to Mt Carmel, Il. from Owensville, In. My first time on a train and I loved it..While you were taking us on your journey, I was sitting across from you and saw you flirting with the young blond. I saw the man with the paper sack, in fact, I saw everything you saw through your words. You are a great writer. You see what most people turn away from. I'm so glad you got your creative muse back. Bravo.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan Robert Lancaster 21 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      You can DRIVE for an hour or more on the Moors and see no other traffic, Bill, although you might see a cyclist or walker or two. Maybe even a farm or two. What you'll definitely see is sheep! (In the North they outnumber people by 10-to-1 - the whole population of Yorkshire is the same as Greater London at about 8M with a rural land surface of about 20-to-1).

      Travelling north-south by train here is easier than east-west. Don't ask me why. Our railways are pretty scenic, but in some parts of the UK there's lots of tunnels, or else there are ribbons of factories or housing. It's what the railways were for here, to link industry - then people. Now there's a lot less metal on the ground.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Ruby. I'm glad my muse returned too because I love creative writing. I'm just a kid having fun with words, and I get the extra bonus of wonderful people like you who take the time to read my scribbles.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Alan, that's a lot of sheep. I guess we have sheep ranchers here but you sure don't see many of them. As for factories, the upper midwest still has the remnants of once great factories, but they are slowly being torn down in the name of progress????

    • Marion Drury profile image

      Marion Drury 21 months ago from Sydney, Australia

      Loved this piece Bill. Made me feel like I was on the train journey too. Have taken several train rides in Europe and the U.S and Canada - I always feel such a sense of excitement and romance - never know what adventure awaits you. Thanks for this wonderful article.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Marion, you are very welcome. If it made you feel like you were on the train then I did my job as a writer. Thank you!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 21 months ago from California

      Have you written many short stories before? You have a knack for them--they are difficult, but you pack a lot of character into a shortie--loved this Bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Audry, I'd have to think about that....I've probably written fifteen or twenty in the last few years. Thank you for your kind words. Maybe I'll write a few more with all the encouragement I've received.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 21 months ago from The Caribbean

      So beautifully told, Bill. I hear the sounds, I see the people and the landscape. I rode on that train with you. You're an expert story-teller!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 21 months ago from southern USA

      Dear Bill,

      Thank you for taking us along on your wonderful and scenic train ride! I love all the sights and sounds you have painted with your words so vividly here.

      After my dad died, my mom went up to Rockport, Massachusetts to visit her sister and wound up living up there for ten years. Anyway, on a couple of our visits, we rode the train into Boston. It was such a lovely little adventure, traveling through all the small towns into the big city.

      Beautiful writing.

      Blessings always

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 21 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Wow! Beautiful photos! A wonderful way in sharing your experience.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Dora! I appreciate that very much.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, that would be a wonderful adventure. I'm glad you were able to take that. Thanks for sharing and of course, thanks for your kind words.

      blessings always

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you DDE! I'm very happy that you liked this.

    • ocfireflies profile image

      ocfireflies 21 months ago from North Carolina

      And say you are not a poet! Thank you for this incredible ride. The only train I have ever been on is Tweetsie. Tweetsie is a train ride one takes at the Tweetsie Theme Park in Blowing Rock. One day, hopefully, I will see the sights you have provided here except I will be "the loner from [the] east." Smiles.

      Blessings,

      Kim

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Kim! I guess I'm a prose poet. :) I can live with that, and coming from you, I consider that a huge compliment.

      bill

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 21 months ago from Central Florida

      What an awesome story, Bill! The lonesome traveler ain't so lonesome as long as Sarah with n H is willing to share her alphabet. Love that line, by the way.

      The cross-country journey you took us on has me longing for an adventure. Headed for nowhere in particular would be such a freeing experience. Just think of all the interesting people you'd meet, the changing landscape, all thriving and putting on a show to the rhythm of the rails.

      You and Arlo got it goin' on, my friend!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Sha! I had a feeling you'd enjoy this story. The lure of the open road calls many of us and, I think, reminds us of days gone by.

      I hope all is well with you and your new job. :)

      bill

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 21 months ago from United Kingdom

      Thanks for the ride, Bill. It's perfect for people like me; the ones who enjoy long rides where we can watch beautiful scenery while we contemplate our place in the world. I could hear 'City of New Orleans' playing in the background of my mind while I read this.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 21 months ago from sunny Florida

      Riding the train is a whole 'nother world, isn't it? It seems that time stops so an interlude with Sara with an 'h' or whomever doesn't really happen...it is just part of the temporary world you find yourself in.

      Great great story...love riding trains on long trips---the detail you provide makes me feel as though I have just come off a trip too.

      So glad to begin my day reading one of your writings, bill. I will be relatively quiet for about 2 weeks...am heading to New Orleans (how about that) tomorrow an then on to Austin on Sunday. NO doubt a hub will follow.

      Blessings and hugs and all to you and yours Angels are hovering around as I send this to you ps

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Zulma! I'm happy this was so well-received by so many. Maybe I'll do a few more short stories.

      Have a wonderful weekend, Zulma!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you PS! It's nice to know a veteran train-rider felt this was realistic. Have a safe trip to the Big Easy and Austin. I look forward to hearing about it.

      blessings, hugs and love are yours

      bill

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 21 months ago from United Kingdom

      More short stories? Yes, please!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Will do, Zulma! I can't say no to my devoted fan and friend. :)

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 21 months ago from Northern California, USA

      My first train ride! Thank you for bringing me along. I had so much fun and can't wait to see where we go next.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Well Marlene, I'm glad I could be the conductor on your first train ride. Thanks for going along.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 21 months ago from south Florida

      Your train trip exposition, Bill, is so entrancing it almost makes me want to take a train ... now ... anywhere. Great descriptions and a great ride. Particularly enamored of this creative phrase of yours: "I don’t care, can’t muster up a smidgeon of interest in one silly letter when I’ve just experienced her entire alphabet."

      Just like I have told you before: 'You ARE the man!'

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you drbj. I've said before that I am thrilled when I write one memorable sentence in a story..that sentence was it.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 21 months ago from Oklahoma

      I love the romanticism of a railroad story.

      Well done!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Larry! I am glad you enjoyed this one.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 21 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      I love your stories, Bill. This one pulled us on that train to see and sense, as Larry said it best, "the America all too many people don't know and may never know." This brought back a few memories. I so look forward to reading more. :-)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Genna, thank you so much. I'm so glad people enjoyed this story. It will continue soon.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 21 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hope I get to see you on the way through. If not, the tracks pass near here, so I'll just wave, and toast you as you pass in the night.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Raise that toast, Deb, and we'll try to stop next time. :) Thank you and Happy Weekend, my friend.

    • Seafarer Mama profile image

      Karen Szklany Gault 21 months ago from New England

      Like, like, like. Love your narration. So part of the characterization of your protagonist. Read the 2nd installment, too. Looking forward to more.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Mama, I'm glad you enjoyed this story. I have the feeling it's not over yet. :) Thank you my friend.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 21 months ago from USA

      I love the railroad and was lucky enough to ride the rails this past summer up in South Dakota. This was a vivid description, right down to Sarah with an "h."

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Aww, thanks Flourish! I need to go on a train ride soon. I whetted my own appetite. :)

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 21 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Had to come by to read this, since you suggested such, before I read the next. I always listen to my bro. He never steers me wrong

      Here we go again....I'm right there in the same place, seeing all you see and experiencing all the sights, sounds & smells of this train ride. I LOVE traveling by train.

      Dear Author Sir, some day I'd like to know how it is your words are like big strong arms that pull me in and take me along. It's like magic. That's the real secret an author knows and a reader feels. Looks like written words, but by God, it's plain old magic!!

      Bravo!! Encore!!....Love, Sis

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sis, you are too kind, but William and Sarah with an h say thank you. They are enjoying their time together and they promise you'll have an update shortly. Stay tuned as I know you will because, will, sisters do that. :)

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 20 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      It was like I was on the train with you. Thank you for the journey.

      Lawrence

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad you enjoyed it, Lawrence. I really do love creative writing.

      bill

    • Aliswell profile image

      Aliswell 20 months ago from Iowa

      My, Oh My, Mr. Bill!!! Who would have thought that there was to be a 'Sweet Thing' lurking in the recesses of billybuc's imagination???

      Enjoyed the ride My Friend!

      You were Very Lucky to have taken the Southern Route, as it has been widely reported, had you taken the Mid Continent Route, passing through Omaha... A not so few poor souls and the Zepher they had been riding on were Very Unexplainably, transported back to July 21, 1873 near Adair, Iowa.

      What they had been made to witness and endure, is something that has made me swear off Any Train Travel, ForEver!!

      Jesse, you were a Real A--Hole!!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Allen, there is a whole other story in your comment. I think you should write it. :)

      Thank you my friend. Just trying a few new things, fine-tuning some others, seeing if I can't improve along the way.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 20 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This story is filled with very interesting and vivid descriptions, Bill. I'm looking forward to reading more in the series!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 19 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you very much, Alicia! This one was easy to write.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 18 months ago from Southern Illinois

      Now I remember this story. A fun journey for sure.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Ruby. I'm sorry I lost you for a little while. Welcome back to the train.

    • Mr Archer profile image

      Mr Archer 17 months ago from Missouri

      Great read, Bill. I've only ridden a train once, many years ago in my misspent youth. It wasn't a long ride, maybe forty miles or so but it was magical to me.

      And another thanks for reminding me of that wonderful old song. Hadn't heard it in a coon's age, now I gotta bring it up on u-tube and listen to it. Always enjoyed the last verse, especially "Halfway home, we'll be there by morning". Just loved it. Take care my friend. Have a great year!.

      Mike

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad you enjoyed the train trip, Mike. Thanks for stopping by. Yes, a great song for sure. I think I'll listen to it now. :)

    Click to Rate This Article