Aug 20, 2008
From the capitol of Texas to the capitol of Illinois is an overnight train ride through the heartland of the country. My youngest child and I both love riding the rails and have jointly long dreamt about making this journey.
Sure, an airplane is a lot quicker but there is much lost crossing the country at 30 thousand feet. The beautiful rural communities, the vast expanses of farmland, the diversity of nature and geography, these are all valued reasons to take a slow train ride through the heartland. More importantly however is the value of spending concentrated time with a child at a pace that makes life more enjoyable. Time to read a book or tell a story. Building memories that will last much longer than the time saved on an airplane.
My last visit to Springfield was when my father took me as a child to see Old Abe's house. He hoped that the journey would develop into a true love of history on my part. At the time, I ignored the history and payed more attention to a rarely seen sight for a South Texan - squirrels. Something happened over the many years that have since passed. I am not sure if it is romance or nostalgia for a simpler time or the fact that my father was ultimately successful in his effort but the yearning to return to historical places once visited and share that experience with loved ones is more important as I grow older.
At this point the Texas Eagle Train that runs from Texas through the heartland of our country is more than an aging relic of travel from one place to another. It can be a vehicle to share common experiences, affections and memories, like between this old man and his son.