The lukewarm humidity of Goodlettsville, Tennessee kept me up at night. I hated feeling like I was covered in a sticky Popsicle. I couldn’t sleep with that feeling. I was only six years old at the time and hated feeling sticky, hot at night. Not only did the heat keep me up, but loud noises. Behind our new house were train tracks. Every night at ten o’clock, the whistle would wake me up. The first night we slept in that house, my father came running in my room, telling me that a tornado had touched down. My mother, dressed in her night gown, gave him an irritated looking saying, “Logan, it’s a train.”
That train woke me up every Saturday night. I would peer out my window and watch it pass. I sometimes considered sleeping outside under the old oak tree to see if I could out run it. One particular Saturday night, I had made up my mind to do just that. My parents were in the living room, having “alone time” watching Saturday Night Live. I thought that if I covered myself with a blanket and crawled around them that they wouldn’t see me.
I didn’t make it far. Half way down the hallway, my father heard me. I could see his feet from under the blanket. I waited for him to move. Instead, he took the blanket off of me and looked me directly in the eye. “Samantha,” he said, “we have church in the morning; remember? Let’s tuck you back into bed.”
Sometimes that old train comes back to my memory from time to time. I sometimes wish that I would’ve raced that train. But now, I live behind an elementary school and the Saturday nights are quiet. Only the occasional noisy group of teenagers passes through—not the old, whistling train.