Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Today the Past Shone Brightly

This is a scene I remember well.

    Today, I had occasion to spend some time at the Amtrak Train Station in Charlottesville, Virginia.   When we first moved to this area, this was simply a very small Amtrak station befitting a town in the South.  In point of fact, this is a train station not far from the University of Virginia, and the highly rated University of Virginia Medical Center.  Soon after, townhomes began to be constructed within view of the train, parking became tight, and boutiques and specialty restaurants appeared.   My father who lived in another city used to come to the station every so often, and I would pick him up and bring him to our home for a few days.  It was funny that Dad had traveled all over the world all of his life, and he always avoided flying. He much preferred trains. When he visited us via train, he never stayed all that long, but all the kids and I have very special cherished memories of these visits.  I remember one Summer day waiting at the train station while Dad's train was extremely delayed.  We were thrilled when he arrived and whisked him home.  That was the visit in which we took Dad to our favorite Asian restaurant in Charlottesville.   Daniel loved Chinese food, and I remember my husband and I , my father and all the kids eating in silence because the food was so good.  We all talked late into the might afterward.   He enjoyed how we had created our first farm.  He loved the alpacas, and I think he was proud of the way we take such good care of our dogs, just as he always did.
                         I picked up and returned Dad to the train station a number of times there, and the memories for the most part are happy ones.  I remember clearly my Dad's last visit to us.  My husband and I that final time dropped him off at the bus station nearby the train station.  That last visit there was a particular reason he wished to avoid the train.  When the bus finally sped away, I cried all the way home with my husband driving.  I knew somehow that this would be the last time I would ever see my Dad the way I have always remembered him.  Oh, how I am thankful that all the kids got to know him on those visits.   There was one more time when my Dad asked to come, but we asked him to delay that visit as we were building a new farm elsewhere and the guest room was not quite ready.  We never did get the chance to have that final visit at our home. I suppose if you really love someone, the time you have with them here on Earth just never seems enough.

In the beginning of our time here, the station was sparse and quiet, not at all the bustling place it became for my father's visits.

                      With my father having passed and Daniel gone now too I can't help but feel sometimes, in those melancholy moments, that the best parts of my life are over also.  I try to live in the present and spend each day wisely and in a manner that would please God and  Dad and Daniel also.  This is not easy because the days of the past shine so brightly that the days of the present cannot help but pale in comparison.  It's simply not the fault of the days of the present.
                     Today in the rain as I walked along the train station with the son we adopted long after the passings of Dad and Daniel, I could not help but feel sad.  Some of the people from my life in the present will never know some of the people I love most during this time on Earth. As I headed back to the car, I heard  both Dad and Daniel in the wind.

Blue Train                                Linda Ronstadt  (with additional vocals:  Emmylou Harris)

This is the extended version of a song which should always have had more recognition.


I was able to locate the original from Scotland, but the embed feature has been disabled.
You can listen to the haunting original at:


performed by:  Maura O' Connell,  with James Grant and Nanci Griffith.

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