This page, WRITE TO A PICTURE, is an invitation to our regular writers and to our visitors. Send an original poem, a story, or your recollections. Share your thoughts and experiences with those who like to READ what others write. Send to me at LaraOct7@aol.com.

 Early 'Write To A Picture' pages are archived. The links are here:

Beach Scene "1" (new Sunday entry)



 


Coming Home From A Visit To The City

By Sharon (Sunyskys1943@aol.com)




Snow covered roof
On deserted train station
Lonely it stands
In a wintry nation


Across the road
Travelers went for hot meal
Waiting inside
Safe from the cold was the deal


Mountains rose up
Majestically and forlorn
Eating hot food
Passengers hoped to stay warm


Farmer in truck
Came to fetch his family
Coming home from
A visit to the city


No longer are
the trains running through the town
But that old diner
Serves hot coffee, come on down







 


Back In The 30's

By Mikey (Norma1223@aol.com)




Back in the 1930s my cousin, her mother, and I along with my cousin's class at school went to the railroad depot in Flint, Michigan. There we boarded a train for a trip to the town of Durand, Michigan. At the time Durand seemed a long ways off from Flint and I had never been on a train before. I was thrilled to be setting off on that journey which was to take all day. My aunt had packed a lunch for the three of us which we ate after arriving in Durand. We toured the depot and the surrounding small town then got back on the train for the long ride back to Flint. Now the expressway makes it a twenty minute ride by car.

I will never forget the wonder of it all and look back now and then at what a wonderful childhood I had.






 


Early First Snowfall

By Swampetta (SWAMPETTA@aol.com)




Did this start when I was sleeping?
It must have been very quiet or I would have heard it landing.
Is the winter sending a warning about what's on the way?


It is kind of pretty though.
Like a fresh coat of paint on drab walls.
This is what I begged for on the summer's hottest day.


Time to put away the window fans, the patio chairs.
Find the winter jackets, the heavy down quilts.
Winter is making an announcement today.







 


A Piece of History

By Tom (tomWYO@aol.com)




"Yep, yep this is where I waited for my pa to come home; right here in this here depot. Back then the N & W was how folks traveled and my pa left for the war from this here depot," Joe Jr. said to his grandson Jim Bob.

"Grandpa, why did your pa want to go to war, why did he want to fight? Grandpa, my dad said fighting is for stupid people," Jim Bob replied as he stood looking at the old Grundy station. The station had been built after the first War when the mines went apey and every man seemed to think he could walk up a hollow, start digging, and hit a winning coal ine.

"Grandpa was a different breed of men, his pa, his grand pa and all those afore him had fought in one war or the other since our folks came to this here country way back when." Them Japs had bombed Pearl Harbor and we was at war so Grandpa signed up to do his duty."

The boy was more interested in the old brick station with its rounded end spire and steep sloped roof. "Grandpa why did they build the old depot that way? Why did they build it with a round turret on one end and that steep roof?" He was standing looking and thinking. Then he turned, "Grandpa did you fight in a war, will I have to fight in a war?"

The old man was looking and thinking, remembering that cold November evening when they all stood at the depot waiting for his father to come home from the war. He was due on the six ten but that time came and went and finally a little after eight old Cap’n Huffman came walking up the tracks, “The six ten won’t be here, it had a head on with a runaway coal train down at the number seven cut. That is all I know,” he said and went on to tell the others who were standing there in the snowy evening. A tear formed and rolled down the old man’s cheek as he took his other hand and wiped it away as the other hand held on to his grandson’s hand. He was thinking about what Jim Bob had asked and he was hoping no one else ever died in a war.

“Grandpa why did they put that steep roof and why did they put that kind of roof on that building?”
“Well when it was built we used to get a lot more snow than we do now. Heck we would get three or four feet here in the mountains and so they put a steep roof so the weight of the snow would not cause the roof to fail. The snow would slide off,” he said as he looked down at Jim Bob his grandson. “Jim Bob, I hope you only serve if you want to serve, I hope you never have to go to war. Back then a lot of boys from these mountains joined up to get away from here, to not have to go into the mines. A chance to get away, to find a better life some place else.”

Jim Bob looked up at his grandpa, “You went away and you came back, my dad went away and he came back, why did you and why did my dad come back?”

A few flakes of snow began to fall as the old man thought. Finally he answered, “I guess it is our home. Jim Bob, I was the telegrapher when they closed that depot; I was the man who ran it, just like my daddy was when he was a man. I guess we came back because these mountains are in our blood and they are our heritage.”

“Will I have to join to get away grandpa?”

“No son, no siree Jim Bob, you are going to college and become an engineer, then you can make a good living and only live here or come back if you want.”

“Grandpa, that old depot of yours and your daddy’s sure is picturesque and I bet you were happy when you worked there and not down in the mines,” the little boy said as he started walking pulling the old man’s hand. “Grandpa, lets get a hot chocolate after we go to the library, OK?” The two slowly walked away from a piece of history and from the past.






 


Railroad Depot In A Small Mountain Community

By Bob (C1ydeBunky@aol.com)




This picture makes me think of the railroad depot in a small mountain community. The architecture is that of the late 1900's, and the roof lines are obviously designed for snow country. The town was no doubt ecstatic when that station was built; it contributed to the beauty of the entire area, and was extremely functional with its observation tower and it's banks of entrances on both sides.

The truck passing by the Diner shows the importance of the location in its prime. Today the Diner is gone, and the road is most likely the continuation of the main access road from the new freeway.

It's to be hoped that the cooler heads in the community may prevent this beautiful structure from being torn down. Supposedly progress is all for the best in this best of all possible worlds -- but sometimes I wonder!






 


The Train To Texas

By Doris (Toto38@aol.com)




I've taken a few train trips, as I do not like crashing in airplanes. Oh, flying is okay...but the prospect of crashing scares the devil out of me. The last train trip I took was in late February, of 2003, when my hubby and I took a train trip to Dallas, Texas, for a friend's daughter's wedding. The compartment we had was fitted with two double beds, one over the other, and a shower and commode within one sort of closet space. You could sit on the closed commode seat and shower. There was also a round table, chair and recliner in the room. AMTRAK wastes not ONE inch of space.

The trip there was quite enjoyable, though it seemed the train was flying at the speed of light during the night! I was awakened by the lack of the constant clickety-clack of the wheels. It sounded more like a whoosh and click! When I raised the shade all I could see were houses flying by! I put my head back on my pillow and said a few prayers and eventually went back to sleep. When we asked our attendant how fast the train goes late at night he said the most they are allowed to speed up to is 79 mph. I told him I was surprised that 79 mph on a train appeared to be at least 100 mph! He smiled at me and winked. ;-)

The club car, where we ate our meals, was an amazing place. We were seated with people from all walks of life, and made some new friends that we still stay in touch with. The attendants were SO good at taking orders, serving, clearing away and resetting . . . all while the train was going at a decent rated of speed. They amazed me! Their good humor and friendliness added to the adventuresome atmosphere of our meals . . . which were always plentiful and quite tasty!

A few times our train had to pull off on a siding so a looooong freight train could pass. It was interesting to watch the different cars and wonder what each one held, and where they were going. The Vista car is all windows and it was delightful to sit and watch the scenery and all the little towns and homes passing by. Naturally, there are some not so pleasant sights . . . piles of rusted cars and other trash on the sides of the tracks. It's really a shame.

We arrived in Dallas a bit late, but the train trip was fantastic and we were met with open arms by our very dear friends. I find train travel most enjoyable and would be hard-put to give it up for plane travel.






 


My American Flyer

By Amy Seiders (Fabulousfilly@aol.com)




One cold and blustery eve
Per chance a train to see
We spent it in the stationhouse
We were quiet as a mouse


Then came the whistle, blowing loud
A cheer we heard from another crowd


Then the smoke of the train
Blowing rings through the rain
My what an American Flyer...I want to explain


my American Flyer
in the year of fifty-three
i received a gift you see
this was a dear and precious thing
it blew smoke, and some smoke had rings


it whistled and chugged along the track
it climbed the hills and never looked back
that train was very dear to me
for i gave to my grandchildren, and in mint condition you see








 


The Old Train Station

By susi Taylor (Texaswishr@aol.com)




I remember saying goodbye to my brother
as he left for his Army camp during the
World War II. He was so handsome in his
uniform. I think everyone in the family
was there to see him off. We were not the
only family there to see their loved one
leave not knowing when or if they would
see them again. Tho we tried so hard to
smile, the tears flowed anyway. I was only
ten years old but I remember it well.
The trains, huge behemoths of shiny black,
with silver trim, sat on the tracks, huffing
and puffing with an occasional explosion of
steam coming out of the side of the engine.
"ALL ABOOOOOOARD!!!" hollered the conductor
when it was time for those who were leaving
to climb the steps into the cars that would
take them far away from their families. We all
gathered up in clusters, each family giving
their soldiers a last hug and kiss, then they
were aboard, the engine's bell clanging, the
steam hissing and the big wheels starting to
turn. We waved our little flags and yelled
to the ones leaving until the train was out
of sight. It was such a sad time and yet,
exciting to a ten year old girl to see that
train at the old station. I drive past the
place where it stood and I remember that day
so long long ago.







 


All Alone

By Pat (Patagain71733@aol.com)




(I'M ALL ALONE)....I THOUGHT TO MYSELF AS I SAT THERE IN THAT QUITE, COLD, FORSAKEN STATION, I'M REALY ALONE. NO ONE ELSE THAT NEEDS ME. HOW I LONGED FOR THAT. NOW THAT IT HAS HAPPENED, I'M NOT SURE HOW I FEEL ABOUT IT.

I REMEMBER WHEN TIMES WERE DIFFERENT, THEM KIDS ALWAYS NEEDED SOMETHING. THAT MAN WAS NEVER HAPPY, SCREAMING, DEMANDING, AND NEVER A THANK YOU FROM HIM, NEVER A NICE WORD. AND THEN WHEN WE FINALLY COULD HAVE HAD IT A LITTLE EASIER, WHAT DID HE DO? HE UP AND DIED ON ME, ONLY THINKING OF HIMSELF .. AS ALWAYS. HE GAVE UP. DIDN'T EVEN TRY TO FIGHT THAT PNEUMONIA.

WELL, NOW HERE I AM, NO HOME. HE LEFT SO MANY BILLS, THEY FORCLOSED ON US. WELL, NO USE THINKING ON THAT. I MUST DECIDE WHERE I'M GOING.

MARY LOU SAID I COULD COME AND STAY WITH HER, BUT GOLLY GEE, I CAN'T LIVE WITH THAT WOMEN. SHE IS MY DAUGHTER, BUT WHERE DID SHE LEARN THOSE BOSSY WAYS? WHY THAT'S FROM HER DAD, OF COURSE. AND SHE THINK SHE KNOWS IT ALL JUST LIKE HE DID. HER WAY IS THE ONLY WAY. WHY, SHE WOULD NOT EVEN LET ME GIVE HER KIDS ANY OF THE SUGAR CANDY I MADE. A LITTLE PIECE, JUST ONCE, WOULD NOT HAVE HURT THEM, AND IT WAS ALL I HAD TO GIVE THEM.

NO, NOT MARY LOU.

THEN THERE'S JIM. HE'S NICE ENOUGH. WELL, WHEN HE'S SOBER HE IS. WHY THE BOY GAVE HIS LIFE UP FOR A BOTTLE I DON'T KNOW. OF COURSE TO HEAR HIM TALK IT'S EVERYONE'S FAULT BUT HIS.

THEN THERE ARE THE THREE YOUNGER BOYS. THEY BARELY CAN TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES, AND THEY ALL MADE EXCUSES ANYWAY. NO WONDER. I TOLD THEM ALL I HAD OTHER PLANS. THEY DIDNT EVEN TRY TO FIND OUT WHAT THEY WERE, JUST HAPPY TO NOT BE BURDENED WITH ME.

WASN'T LIKE THAT IN THE PAST. WE KNEW OUR DUTY. WHY MY OWN MOMMA LIVED WITH US FOR A SPELL. PA, TOO. I CARED FOR BOTH OF THEM TILL THEY PASSED. MY HUSBAND TOO. YEP, HE KNEW HIS DUTY. IF ONLY HE COULD HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT HATING SO MUCH.

AND EVERY ONE ELSE HAD TO BE ON THE RECEIVING END OF THAT HATE. NO WONDER THE KIDS LEFT HOME SO SOON. IT WAS MY FAULT TOO. I SHOULD HAVE LEFT HIM, MADE IT A HAPPIER HOME FOR THEM KIDS.

WELL, I DIDNT KNOW ANY BETTER. I WAS PRETTY MUCH A KID MYSELF. GOT MARRIED AT 16. SEEMED I ALWAYS HAD A BABY AFTER THAT, AND ALL THAT WORK. WASN'T NO DISH WASHER AND ALL THE OTHER THINGS PEOPLE USE NOWDAYS. DISH WASHER HA HA HA WHY, I JUST WISH I COULD HAVE HAD A REAL NICE WASHER FOR THE CLOTHES. I WAS LUCKY WHEN I HAD THE WRINGER ONE. FOR A LONG TIME IT WAS JUST THE OLD RUB-BOARD AND MY KNUCKLES. WELL, I KEPT THEM CLEAN THOUGH...WHAT THEY HAD.

GEE IT'S QUITE HERE. GETTING SO DARK OUT THERE. GUESS THE TRAIN WON'T BE IN TILL REAL LATE. SNOW'S A-COMING, I HAD BETTER DECIDE WHERE I'M GOING TO GO.

ALWAYS THOUGHT I MIGHT LIKE THE CITY. NOW I'M NOT LOOKING FORWARD TO ANYWHERE. I'D RATHER JUST GO BACK THERE IN THOSE MOUNTAINS, LAY DOWN, AND NOT GET UP.

I'V NEVER BEEN A QUITTER, BUT WHY FIGHT ANY LONGER? IT WOULD BE SO EASY TO JUST TAKE THESE PILLS THE DOC GAVE ME FOR THE PAIN IN MY LEGS. TAKE THEM AND NEVER FEEL PAIN ANY MORE. NEVER SEE ANY PAIN ON SOME ONE'S FACE TELLING ME THEY DON'T WANT TO BE DEALING WITH THE LIKES OF ME, TO KNOW THAT I'M NOT WANTED.

DARN IT, HERE COME THOSE TEARS AGAIN. NOW STOP IT ALMA! AIN'T NO SENSE IN BAWLING AGAIN. GOT TO STOP FEELING SORRY FOR MYSELF ...STOP THIS THINKING.

OH LOOK OVER THERE. SOMEONE LEFT A PAMPLET, ONE OF THOSE JESUS THINGS. LET ME SEE. IT SAYS FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON SO THAT WHOEVER BELIEVETH IN ME SHALL NOT PERISH BUT HAVE EVER LASTING LIFE.

THANKS GOD, BUT WHO WANTS LIFE? NEVER MEANT NOTHING TO ME...JUST WORK. AND HAVE ALL THAT LOVE? WHERE WAS MINE? MY OWN MOMMA WAS TOO BUSY WORKING. SHE HAD TEN KIDS. I WAS THE OLDEST. GOD, I SHOULD BE ASHAMED TO COMPLAIN. THAT WOMEN WORKED HARDER THEN ANYONE I KNOW AND WHAT DID SHE GET? BEAT AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK BY MY PA. NOWHERE TO GO. WHAT ELSE COULD SHE DO? AT LEAST BILL NEVER HIT ME TOO MUCH. HA HA HA HA .. HUMMM, YOU SUPPOSE THAT WAS LOVE?

WELL GOD, IF YOU LOVE ME TELL ME WHAT TO DO. I NEVER HAD TIME TO WONDER BEFORE WHAT I WAS SUPPOSE TO DO WITH MY LIFE. SOMEONE ALWAYS TOLD ME. MAYBE I SHOULD DO SOME PRAYING? NOT SURE HOW TO DO THAT.

PREACHER I HEARD ONCE SAID: YOU JUST TALK TO HIM. GIVE IT ALL TO HIM. WELL, NOTHING TO GIVE EXCEPT THIS WORTHLESS PERSON HERE. TELL YOU WHAT, GOD. YOU SHOW ME WHAT YOU WANT FROM ME AND IF YOU TALK TO ME I WILL BELIEVE. GOT NOTHING ELSE TO DO WITH MY LIFE. IF YOU DONT WANT ME THEN, JUST LET ME END IT WITH THESE PILLS. IT WON'T TAKE TOO LONG. I'LL JUST GO LAY DOWN ON THAT BENCH AND WAIT FOR A SIGN. SOMETHING. AND WHEN IT DON'T COME, AND WHEN I'M READY I WILL TAKE THOSE PILLS CAUSE I DONT THINK EVEN GOD CARES IF I LIVE OR DIE.

OH MY, I MUST HAVE DOZED OFF. GEE, I'M SUPRISED I COULD SLEEP. WAS I SLEEPING? I REMEMBER SOMETHING. OH YES, THE RED BIRDS. THERE WERE SO MANY OF THEM. ALL CHIRPING AND BUSY GATHERING FOOD, BUT THEN THE LADY IN WHITE CAME OVER AND TOLD THEM BE STILL. YOU MUST LISTEN TO HIS VOICE. WHEN THEY DID, THEY HEARD A SONG. A SONG FROM FAR AWAY. THE MELODY WAS SO LOVELY. SOON THEY CEASED THEIR CHIRPING AND SANG ALONG. I WONDER WHAT IT MEANT? IT SEEMED SO IMPORTANT.

IT SEEMED LIKE A MESSAGE FOR ME. WAS IT GOD? WAS HE TRYING TO TELL ME SOMETHING? I WILL BE STILL AND LISTEN. PLEASE GOD, SPEAK TO ME. TELL ME WHAT YOU WOULD HAVE ME BE. I HAVE ALWAYS TRIED TO DO IT MY WAY. TRIED TO BE GOOD, TO DO WHAT I HAVE TO DO JUST TO GET THREW THE DAY. IS THERE A BETTER WAY? CAN WE FIND PEACE ON EARTH? OH MY, WHAT IS THAT I HEAR SINGING? IS IT YOUR ANGELS, GOD? ARE THEY HERE? IF THEY ARE, THEN YOU ARE. I AM NOT ALONE. I FEEL A HAPPINESS IN JUST KNOWING THAT.

OH GOD, THANK YOU FOR IF I AM NOT ALONE THEN I HAVE NEVER BEEN ALONE. I JUST NEVER STOPPED TO HEAR YOUR VOICE, THE VOICE OF THE ANGELS SINGING. HAPPINESS IS IN KNOWING THIS AND THE PAMLET WAS RIGHT. I AM LOVED, AS YOU LOVE ALL YOUR CHILDREN. OH GOD, I STILL DO NOT KNOW WHERE I AM GOING. I JUST PRAY YOU WILL FIND SOMEWHERE I AM NEEDED, SOMEWHERE WHERE I CAN WORK FOR YOU. I PRAY THAT YOU WILL SHOW ME THE PLACE YOU WANT ME TO BE. I KNOW YOU ARE HERE. I'M NO LONGER AFRAID AND UNTIL I COME HOME TO BE WITH YOU, I WILL FIND SOME PLACE I'M NEEDED. I PRAY IT WILL BE PLEASING TO YOU, LORD.

AMEN, I GUESS...






 


The Old, Old Call, ALL ABOARD, Is Silenced Now
But the Memories Linger On

By Evelyn (Evenccw@aol.com)




What is the nostalgic power of the sight of an old railroad station? Does it create in you as it does in me a yearning, a little homesickness for a simpler time? As a youngster on a farm in Northern Alabama, hearing the L & N Pan American’s whistle blasting across the land every evening at five-thirty was cause for dreams of far off places, adventure, and romance. My home town’s tiny railway station was the gateway to adventure. They called it a whistle stop. “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” Less Brown’s “Do you Hear that Whistle Coming Down the Line, I figure that it’s Engine No. 49” and “The Atchison Topeka and the Santa Fe” are train songs that resonate in my mind. Some things grow stronger with memory. Sadly, there is little romance in modern railroading.

A picture of a Victorian-style whistle stop nestled in the Smoky Mountains channels me to times beyond my memory. Larger-than-life were the living, breathing behemoths that whistled across the country sides, East to West, North to South. They disappeared from the mainlines fewer than a hundred years after the golden spike was driven in Utah in 1869 connecting the first Transcontinental Railroad. One such “behemoth” carried my great-grandparents and their family from Pennsylvania to Alabama that very year. A similar train, in 1946, carried my father, mother, brother and sisters and me from Alabama to Ohio. The whistle stop there is now a museum.

The spider web of steel across North America in the 19th and 20th centuries was host to countless track-side whistle stops when to step from the platform onto a waiting train was a grand adventure! For how many was this simple little station a gateway to the city and, alas, to the world beyond? In today's fast-paced, volume-oriented, high-tech society, we each need to set aside a little time to relax, contemplate, or simply to sit quietly. But because the pace of our lives is so quick, most of us rarely take this time. Thanks to a picture of a turn-of-the century railroad station, a whistle stop, I have paused for a brief spell to look over my shoulder and enjoy many happy, less harried times of days gone by!

In closing, let me share a poem by Bret Harte. I hope it brings to you smiles, as it did for me, of days in the early history of our country, and our legacy of railroading.


WHAT THE ENGINES SAID
When the Golden Spike was Driven


by Francis Bret Harte 1839-1902



What was it the Engines said,
Pilots touching– head to head
Facing on the single track,
Half a world behind each back?
This is what the Engines said,
Unreported and unread.


With a prefactory screech,
In a florid Western speech,
Said the engine from the West,
“I am from Sierra’s crest;
And, if altitude’s a test,
Why, I reckon, it’s confessed,
That I’ve done my level best.”


Said the Engine from the East,
“They who work best talk the least.
S’pose you whistle down your brakes;
What you’ve done is no great shakes,
Pretty fair, but let our meeting
Be a different kind of greeting.
Let these folks with champagne stuffing,
Not their Engines, do the puffing.


“Listen! Where Atlantic beats
Shores of snow and summer heats;
Where Indian autumn skies
Paint the woods with wampum dies, –
I have chased the flying sun,
Seeing all he looked upon,
Blessing all that he has blest,
Nursing in my iron breast
All his vivifying heat,
All his clouds about my crest;
And before my flying feet
Every shadow must retreat.”


Said the Western Engine, “Phew!”
And a long low whistle blew.
“Come, now, really that’s the oddest
Talk for one so very modest.
You brag of your East You do
Why, I bring the East to You!
All the Orient, all Cathay,
Find through me the shortest way;
And the sun you follow here
Rises in my hemisphere.
Really,– if one must be rude,–
Length, my friend, ain’t longitude.”
Said the Union: “Don’t reflect, or
I’ll run over some Director.”
Said the Central: “I’m Pacific;
But when riled, I’m quite terrific.
Yet today we shall not quarrel,
Just to show these folks this moral,
How two Engines–in their vision–
Once have met without collision.”


This is what the Engines said,
Unreported and unread;
Spoken slightly through the nose,
With a whistle at the close







 


The Train Station

By Marietta (Velvtch1@aol.com)




The train station sits nestled at the bottom of the mountain in a little village up north. The snow falls softly and the station is abandoned save for the homeless that look for shelter from the cold. People live in their warm houses, well fed and comfortable as these poor souls try to fend for themselves. The beauty of these surroundings escape them in their misery. Who will see, who will come to their rescue? Will it be you? Will it be me?










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