Having raised two children of my own, I know that four years old is a fantastic age. You start to realize that there's a world out there. It's also the age when adventures are first experienced, I was no exception. My Grandpa's farm was about 2 miles outside the small town where I lived. Another one was between it and the Wabash Railroad tracks that ran along the edge of the town. I was forbidden to cross those tracks.
Just down from the tracks was the town baseball field and I used to play there. It was a summer's day and nobody was around, just me and the dust. I walked down to the Railroad Crossing sign and wondered what would happen if I crossed the tracks.
I must have stood there and tried a number of times, to take that first step over the nearest rail. All the while looking around to see if anyone was watching. Thoughts raced through my mind like, "Will I get run over by a Wabash Cannonball?" I remember imagining this giant iron cannon ball rolling down between the rails and squashing me like a bug. Maybe a small cannon ball might come by. However, the tracks had nothing on them, besides I didn't really know what a Wabash Cannonball was. Heck, I was only 4 years old.
Finally I did it and nothing happened, so ran across the tracks as fast as my little legs would carry me.
I was ten feet tall! Super Wabash track crosser!
Once over, I figured why not go see Grandpa and Grandma. Then proceeded to walk down the empty country road, something I had never done before. Normally I rode in Grandpa's old 1934 PickupI think it was on it's last legs because this was 1950.
Strolling along on the hot summer day, a number of things went through my mind. "What if the Carpenters, on the first farm, see me and call Mom?" Along with the fear that the town Sheriff might drive by and arrest me. Neither happened and I made it to the gravel road that the farm was on and turned right. The roads were empty and remained that way.
The first small house on the rural road may have been unoccupied at the time, I don't remember. Sometimes no cars, except the mailman, would go by all day. Dust would fly up after his car and he would stop, slide across the front seat, open the mailbox and put whatever mail there was for Grandpa into it. Then off he'd go, with another cloud of dust rising behind his big Chevy. I don't think I ever saw the mail car without a very heavy coating of dust from the gravel roads in the area.
When I arrived, I went in and proudly announced that I had walked out to say hello and, "Is there any watermelon?"
My Grandpa praised me up big time and said he'd call Mom to tell her that I was with them. No word was ever said about me crossing those tracks and walking 2 miles to the farm, all by my little old lonesome.
That set me for life! Since then I have walked down unknown roads in: North America, Europe, The British Isles, The Azores, Bermuda, Morocco, Hungary, Romania and Israel.
What's down that way?
I'm still finding out.....
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This post is part of a series beginning here.
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