Years later, during Samuel's train phase, we took a family trip to Portland to see my sister Peach. Not only did we make the most of all that Amtrak had to offer -- including a magic show -- but we took a train ride through Portland's Washington Park on our zoo visit, and we went to a pumpkin patch with a train that ran around a lake on the property. It was perhaps the most exciting train ride of all that weekend, as pirates attacked a raft in the middle of the lake and an animatronic Jaws surfaced long enough to be menacing, then re-submerged.
Of course the train had stopped running through our neighborhood in Western New York a century before we moved there, but the old railroad grade was still evident, even on the family property. As the story goes, the tracks were taken up and shipped off to Europe to be used during World War I but the ship sank and the rails are now somewhere in the Atlantic! The random fruit trees along the grade were seeded by apple cores that passengers threw from the windows of their lumbering trains.
I spent much of my three years in Japan on the train, but that's another story.
Soon we will have our own train station, right here in Stanwood. I'm imaging Peter, Susan, Lucy and Edmund sitting on the bench, heading off to Narnia. More likely it will be commuters, grateful to catch a few extra ZZZZs on their way to work, and folks off to Seattle to shop or see a Seahawks game. The late night train whistles that put me to sleep these days will take on new meaning for me as I realize that the station, just down the hill from us, is making life more accessible for us and our neighbors.