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The Train Tracts
By Curtis Johnson
I can remember at least four things that we did on train tracks,
And one thing that I never did until I was an adult. Firstly, let me tell you what I did not do on a train track, because that is by far the easy part. Seven words will suffice: I never rode a train on one.
We ran up and down the embankment and across the tracts on both sides. We were poor, underprivileged, and deprived of parks and play grounds, but we were blessed with healthy arms and legs. We used them to the fullest.
We jumped off the track onto the side of the embankment just above the creek which was dry most of the time. We were leapers and jumpers and runners; and I tell you, the train tracts contributed much to the fun filled life of this Southern country boy.
Apparently we never feared snakes, because we often hunted for black berries along the railroad tracks. Perhaps we counted the sweet taste of our mother's blackberry pie far superior to any fears we had of snakes. Also, I suspect the snakes heard us coming, and thought it best that they move on.
We walked the tracts again and again. We competed each other over who could walk the longest without losing their balance and hopping off. This was by far the most fun of all of our “Track endeavors”. Of course the trains, seeing us in the distance, would always blow in plenty of time as they approached. We were energetic kids and dare devils on many things, but we never once played games with the trains. We were certain to get out of their way in good order.
One word could describe what walking the tracts taught me, and became most useful in my life. That word is balance.
I have found that the absence of balance in one’s life is a major recipe for instability.
I learned “Balance” as a kid walking the rails on a train tract. Who Knew?
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