The cold brisk autumn winds blew, just as the sun was about to set, I looked at the clock. Form my home, which was located near some train tracks, I could hear the distant trains whistle blow. It was four-fifteen o'clock. My heart soared, as my mind filled full of wonderful memories of my father, as I rocked my little infant baby that afternoon.
As a child many years before that on some cool autumn days, the wind blew, the sun shined dimmer, as it was beginning to set. I sit on our cool cement steps in front of our house. I awaited for my father to come home from work. He faithfully arrived at about 4:15 p.m. every day. He stepped from his old gold dodge with a huge smile for me on his face. I watched him approaching me, in his brown dusty work books, his smell of union workman tobacco on his breath, and his common appearance of his worn dark colored work cloths. He was a jolly old gray headed fellow. He was my night in shining armor. I sit on that step every day, like an old sheep dog awaiting his master.
One day he invited me to go to his place of work. Until that day I'd never before cared what he did, as long as he
arrived by 4:15. We drove in that dusty old work car of his, to his place of employment. There was a huge train in the yards. He lifted me up onto the engine. I looked all around. The metal was so cold, and felt foreign to my touch, but not to him. He walked over and started that gigantic thing up.
Soon it rumbled; Chug-a-chug-a-chug-chug. It pulled us down
the rails first slowly then faster. He was my own protective giant in my wonderful child hood dream. His smile down at me was one I'll never forget. We traveled along that day making a memory so vivid and fun. To this day I still joyously recall. He placed his hand on my shoulder, as we slowed and soon stopped.
Two years later on a warm autumn day, I stood at the foot of his crisp white hospital bed. He was in such pain, his heart in a stressful strain. I felt as helpless as a bird with no wings. Soon he was gone, My smiles turned to frowns. Till one day, I was sitting alone in our living room. I felt so far away, so alone. I was siting across from his big brown rocking chair, when suddenly it began to rock, back and forth. At first I was frozen in fear, so scared, but then I looked at the clock it was 4:15, and in the distance I could hear the distant train's whistle, and soon became calm.
Now some say there are no ghosts, if one believes in God; but on that day someone, some how, some way, sent me a message. I would like to believe it was my father.
Now comfort comes from memories, and other ways of feeling the closeness to those we have lost. I would like to believe that my own mind is not lost to forever sadness, that he loved me enough to show me from where ever he was, that he would always love me, as the rocking chair rocks.
You see later on my mom gave me that big brown rocker, to rock my baby in, so he was, in a way still with me. Even at 4:15 when they cried from croup, while I rocked and humbly said for my baby a special prayer. I heard the distant's train whistle blowing.
My babies, on occasion, had a simple cold, I rocked them and rocked them. I feel his love in some strange way when I'd look at the clock precisely at 4:15, and when I'd hear the distant train's whistle blow.
Linda B. Terrell ©
September 29, 2010