Brisk, cool air coming in through a bedroom window is welcomed by most on a sultry summer’s evening . However, The Ohio Edison Co., along with most energy-efficient consumers, might take a long gasp of breathe at the fact that I also love that brisk and cool air coming in through my window during a 38 degree, frosty January night. Its crispness I find refreshing, and having my window ajar keeps me somewhat connected with the night sounds, such as that of a distant train making its way through town.
A few nights ago, ( after one of my usual 3- times- a- night jaunts to the bathroom), I snuggled back into my comfortable bed, and listened to a train whistle as the engineer pulled on the rope that controlled that familiar sound.It would be just one of the many trains that night that would journey through our little town of London, Ohio. According to Wikipedia, it is the older engines that had the pull type ropes, enabling each engineer to “personalize” the sound of his train by pulling the whistle in long or short intervals, as much or as little as he chose.Today many of those ropes have been changed to a mechanical switch, thus making the whistle sound the same each and every time. Some would argue that by modernizing it, they took away its personality. Maybe some don’t even notice.But this is not the case of the train which goes through London every evening around midnight.
I’ve often thought about those late night whistles.Many times they are just short and quick, coming and going as quickly as the train itself. Then there are nights, such as the one a few nights ago, when the whistles are long and drawn out like the notes of an old and familiar melancholy tune, each whistle just a little different than the one before it. After a time, as I lay listening to the sound of the steel wheels rolling down the tracks becoming fainter and fainter, the conductor pulled one, last, long and whining whistle as the train disappeared into the night.
There’s something to be said for“taking in”the many sounds around us. Famous motivational speaker, Dale Carnegie, remarked,
‘Let us not get so busy or live so fast that we can’t listen to the music of the meadow or the symphony that glorifies the forest. Some things in the world are far more important than wealth; one of them is the ability to enjoy simple things.”
Simple things… like the night-time whistle of a train.
In the 1800’s hobos( homeless vagrants) began using trains as a means of “free” transportation getting from town to town. It was said they occasionally gathered and put their stolen vittles together, making a big batch of Hobo Stew.
Here’s a modern rendition of that classic.
In a crock pot layer in this order.
2 large potatoes, sliced
3 medium size carrots, sliced
1 ½-2 pounds of ground beef that has been sautéed with 1 small onion
1 large can whole tomatoes
1 #2 size can tomato sauce
1 large can of V-8 juice
Cook on low setting for 7-8 hours