I want to send
A sweet little cake
Of green and purple and gold
To a nice little person
With the grandest heart
So full of life and so bold;
In her railroad town
Twixt here and there
With its bicyclist and a spry crossing guard;
Life saunters on
As without a care
In these times both easy and most hard.
Guides us on
From inland rail thence to sea;
Perhaps one day
If the Fates grant upon
A chance to be in such company.
With this mere birthday wish
Escaping heart and mind,
Without cold years counted mathematical,
I wish unto her
Many happy years to her return,
With blessings to our own virtual COTU Gal.
She came on down the tracks
A pile of happy years ago,
On the 23rd of some February
(The exact year we may never know).
Grew up so smart and so good;
Graduated college and worked on the TV:
Where she dazzled and produced like mad—
Collecting four little friends named Emmy!
Now joyful married, with three nice kids,
Who’re sometimes marvelous, oft-times pesky;
She Moderately commands virtual court on the web,
Wurking the VR camera sitting at her AMP desky.
Awarded and celebrated, appreciated and applauded,
She resides mighty in the Center of the Universe!
These poor words are to wish for her a Most Happy Birthday!
(Meh, who knows, it could have been worse…)
Her bags had been packed for a little while;
She gave up, having given him his chance—
She’d hoped he’d call or maybe something more.
At last the horn sounded off in the distance.
She attended Randolph-Macon, a sweet little school,
In the heart of the little railroad town called Ashland.
Tuition was tight, and she had to work most nights,
But she managed to keep onto some cash in hand.
Going home on Christmas Eve, she bundled up tight.
He said something that he worked at something in travel,
But shared not very much more, though he held her hand.
At the crimson memory, she scuffed her shoes in the gravel.
The bells and lights popped on the England Street gates
While clanged the Regional into the charming station;
Down to Charleston for the last of the school holiday:
The tracks sang shrill along with her wistful anticipation.
As the P40 slowed to a pause on old track number three,
The student grabbed her suitcase to get on aboard.
The door unfolded open, the conductor stepped off;
The yellow stool down; he reached out to guide her forward.
Student-waitress and nice guy-conductor stood stock still—
Alan? Kathy? But the press of passengers soon broke the spell,
And everyone got onboard quickly and surely aboard.
I believe the two had lots to say, one could just kind of tell.
The bell clanged again on the AMTRAK Regional Southbound
As the train slipped slowly down the road-girded track.
Curious folks on an online camera wondered at the pas de duex:
Of two hearts with a whole new story that overnight they’d unpack.
The gates rose back up to home and the bells fell silent;
The holidays lights on the street lamps flickered small-town cheer.
One engine and 8 carriages had been rightly and true counted—
While Ashland, virtual and real, awaited a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
The fallen leaves scattered across the tracks,
Southbound 53 would push these farther on.
A love that was empty as Ashland’s winter trees—
A hard weight was lifted now that she’d gone.
No tears, but also no joy, would be found here.
Yes, may the very best find its way over to her;
And should any good be left over hanging out
Perhaps might could entertain here along with Jack’s purr.
Santy Claus is due to arrive in a few days
And we’ve all tried to be and to do our best;
But sometimes it’s never close to good enough
And you cancel flights along with all the rest.
Maybe in the new year happiness real will come
And everyone can breathe and let it all just be;
Festivals and dances return for our lives renewed
And I can get back to that crescent bend in the Mississippi.
The southbound blew its horn passing thru Ashland town
And the online chatroom railfans counted up all the cars.
The empty trees shimmied in the rolling winter wind;
The resettled leaves looked up and counted up all the stars.
Wait…what do I hear?
Is that a train’s calling horn?
It’s warbling powerful note
That’s moved us since we were born?
Times a wasting!
Get on over to Ashland!
Gonna play at Train Day
The very best that I can!
There go the gates
As the lights start to blink.
Saturday twould be better spent
Meeting Tender and Cinder, don’t you think?
So, its November the Fourth,
From ten am until afternoon five;
For the best of an American little town
Proving Just Plain Goodness is still alive!
Please, sign the petition
And meet Kathy’s Clowns;
More fun than an old football team
Taking over on downs.
So, get on over here
Before I’ve run out of verse;
Come to Train Day in Ashland—
At the Center of the Universe!
Wait…what do I hear
Is that a train’s calling horn?
It all starts this Saturday
On a fresh, cool Autumn’s morn.
(Happy Birthday sm6175!!!)