Some peeps have asked me hakum I love trains so much. I think part of it was because my Papa-san worked for the Kahului Railroad on Maui. I have some photos he took of the old trains when he was there. Lidis one:
He also took this photo:
U like read moa about dat train? Try look ova hea.
So yeah, I think it started there. My brother Kaniela and I had a model Lionel train that we’d play with for hours, and that has always been a fine, sweet, memory for me.
Many, many, years later, we moved to the mainland when my Papa-san got sick and could only get specialized treatment here. I was torn up inside. My grief knew no bounds, and I was dragged kicking and screaming from the only home I’d ever known, the community, culture, language, and music that I loved…and my horse…and of course, I was scared and worried about my papa-san.
My mom had to go to work, and I had to take over all the household jobs, cooking, laundry, cleaning, ironing (yeah, we ironed back then)…and emotionally I was a wreck. I was incredibly depressed and barely getting through the days, just putting one foot in front of the other.
But one of the lights in my days was this: Every day, just before I had to start dinner, I’d walk down to the railroad tracks near our house. At that time, the train would ever so slowly make its way through the small town where we lived. I’d sit next to the tracks on a concrete block and wait for the train to come by, tears falling down my cheeks because I was so unhappy.
Then the train would come creeping around the corner. The engineer sat in the cab on my side of the tracks. And every single day, he’d wave to me and I’d wave back. We never called out to each other…we just waved. The kindness of that man somehow gave me the courage to keep going. He was balm to my soul, and the sound of the engine coming before I could even see it, and his wave, gave me a bright spot in my otherwise dreary days. And so day by day, I kept going.
I never had the chance to thank that engineer. But I will never forget his friendly smile and his wave.
And so yeah, I guess that’s why I love trains.