Every Time a Train Whistle Blows

My Dad and Me 60

One day Daddy brought me to the railroad yard where he worked. The train tracks seemed too high for me to go over, so Dad held me tight and carried me across. When we got to the train, I looked down along its path and saw all the cars hooked together. Dad pointed to the caboose and then climbed up into the engine while he kept me in tow. It was dark inside, but being up so high, I was able to see the tracks that we just crossed and the building that Dad said was the station. Dad looked at me and smiled and said, “Pull that string.” He pointed to a cord that hung down from the ceiling. I shook my head “no” as I looked into his big blue eyes. Dad didn’t ask me to pull it again. He just pulled it himself. That’s when I knew what needed to be done to make the whistle blow. The sound of the whistle was so loud, but it didn’t scare me because Dad held me tight.

Ever since then, I wished I would have been brave enough to make that whistle blow. Sometimes I felt like I was a little afraid of Dad because I didn’t see him very much when I was small because he worked nights. Every now and then, I would see him in the early morning just when he got home from work. I didn’t blame him for my being a little afraid because I knew that it was his schedule to work, come home and eat, and go to bed. It was what Dad had to do to take care of his family.

If I got up early enough, I was lucky to see my Dad. I hid behind the kitchen door and peaked at him through the crack. I held myself very still while holding onto my white baby blanket. The bright morning sun hurt my eyes as its light crept through the window. I watched Dad’s back, and listened to his spoon hit the bowl of cereal with a sort of steady rhythm as he held the newspaper in front of him. His engineer hat usually sat on the counter right next to him.

Suddenly, he belted out a tune that took me out of my trance and had me pulling my thumb out of my mouth:

Peak-a-Boo, I See You,
Hiding Behind the Door!

He sang it over and over in a melody he made up until I got brave enough to come out from behind the door. When I got close enough, Dad pulled me into his lap and I felt more comfort there than I did from my security blanket and my wet thumb put together. That nice warm hug made all my being afraid go away.

It always shocked me when he sang that song because I couldn’t figure out how he knew I was hiding behind the door. Now every time I hear a train whistle blow, I think of you Dad!

Dad, your guiding hand on my shoulder will remain with me forever. ~Author Unknown

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9 thoughts on “Every Time a Train Whistle Blows

  1. Train whistles always made my mom sad. It reminded her of her dad leavng. Her dad was an engineer, and she did pull the cord. I like to hear a train whistle, but for a long time it made me sad, but I realized I had no reason to be sad. Now, I think they sound mournful, but I don’t mind. I like them even better when I’m on the train. (Just not at every crossing.) I enjoyed reading your post.

    • Thanks, Mary. Sorry to hear that the train whistle made your Mom sad. Train whistles do sound mournful sometimes.

      I like thinking about my Dad, so I don’t mind hearing them now. I’m missing him a lot today because it’s his birthday.

  2. I love your stories about growing up, isn’t it funny how parents seem to just ‘know?’

    I’m always envious of the people who had lovely relationships with their dads. I was lucky enough to have a wonderful grandfather that I lost too soon. He was a milkman and got up early to deliver milk. He always he’d take me one day but sadly that day never came. I used to wake up and imagine he traveling through the early morning hours, setting milk bottles on people’s doorsteps.

    Your blog always brings some fond memory to mind. 🙂

  3. I love this 🙂 It reminds me of when I take the kids on warm summer nights to pick up their dad at the commuter railroad station. As they watch the trains speed by they try to guess which might be his and of course when he arrives there is no better reception given to anyone on the platform. 🙂

  4. What a great memory of your dad!

    We live near the railroad tracks. When we first moved in twenty-five years ago, I thought I would never sleep through that train whistle. Now it’s a comfort to me. It reminds me of home and familiar surroundings.

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