Went to visiti my Mom and Dad last week in Saskatchewan.
My Mom took me 4-wheeling - it was a check the cows, tour the old campground and check fence sort of trip.
It's funny what can make you smile.
As I was following Mom up our road to where we'd have to cross the rail road tracks and then a highway a train came along. The CP Rail runs along the entire south border of Mom and Dad's ranch.
When I saw the engine coming I thought to myself, "I wonder if the engineer's still wave back at you if you wave at them?"
They always waved at us as kids and sometimes they'd even blow the whistle at us too. The caboose guys always waved too and you ALWAYS got to see them because you had to wait for the caboose to go by in order to cross the tracks. And the guys in the caboose always used to wave at us if we were out in the pasture when the trains went by too. You don't always get to see the engineer. We frequently met up with the middle of trains rather than the fronts of them.
Anyways I decided to see if engineers will still wave at you.
I gave him a wave, he waved right back at me and I ended up as excited as a six year old and wearing the biggest grin I had in a while.
I pulled up to Mom farther along the road and we shut off the 4-wheelers to wait for the train to go by.
"I like the graffiti on the trains," Mom said.
"I do to," I said.
I always have liked the graffiti on the trains. I realise that it's vandalism and illegal but it is also often pretty darned creative and cool to look at. And it was really neat to realise that Mom and I both liked something uniquely odd that we'd never ever talked about before.
As we were sitting there I heard a wolf whistle and looked around.
"There's a guy on the train!" I told Mom.
He waved at me and she turned around to look at him too.
"Did you get his picture?" she asked.
I had thought about it but I was so shocked to see this man squatting on the hitch between the two cars and waving at us that by the time my brain processed the steps to take the picture he was too far away to get a picture of him. I settled for taking a long shot of the train across the open prairie a little later on instead. Where I grew up it is possible to see the entire length of a train that is over a half a mile long all at the same time and get it all into one frame on the camera. The sky is that big where I grew up.
We couldn't figure out who he was and what he was doing there. They put a second engine on alot of the trains that run that stretch of track and this train had that extra bit of power but he was at least 10 cars ahead of that second engine. The train was going really slowly so we wondered if he'd hopped on to hitch a ride. But I sort of thought he was wearing a safety vest and we hadn't ever heard of hobos wearing reflective orange and yellow safety vests but if he worked for CP he shouldn't have been where he was in the first place and maybe I imagined the vest. There is a switch about 2 miles from our crossing at an inland grain terminal but the train didn't have any grain cars on it. It was completely full of sea containers.
So we were stumped.
So we enjoyed some more train graffiti while we contemplated our hobo and I waited for the guy in the caboose.
And then I remembered that there aren't any guys in the caboose anymore because they did away with the cabooses a few years ago.
But somehow I still got the customary two waves out of this train!