All Aboard!

By the Shores of Silver Lake

Out of college, my husband taught in a private Christian school for seven years.  We loved ministering to the high school kids and living in Kansas.  They were formational years to our Christian life. Of course, we often joked that the three best things about teaching were June, July and August, but we loved working with teens the most.

When my husband went into the computer industry, he had the typical vacation schedule with only two weeks off.

Box T 1997

At the same time, he began teaching the Bible every summer for two weeks at  Box T Bible and Saddle Camp run by Florence and Lewellyn Tewksbury in the middle of North Dakota.  We loved the teen ministry and didn’t mind having no time off.  Our ministry together was our family vacation.

However, driving from North Dakota to Montana to visit my parents each year with a car full of little children and no husband was a challenge.  We found help one year when we bought a Disney video and it came with an Amtrak coupon for buy one adult fair, get one child for free.  The baby was free, the middle children were half fare, so we had a deal. 

I  took the train for the first time in my life.

It was an exciting adventure, even if we couldn’t afford the sleeper car, and even if it ended up taking longer than driving.  They placed us in a smaller handicapped room with two seats that faced each other.  I had a cooler of snacks and a huge bag of books and new toys.  My favorite memory was reading Ransom of Red Chief by O.Henry aloud. I think I was more excited than my kids.

North Dakota 295(pics from Ritzville, WA train depot and museum)

The Ingalls’ didn’t quite share my enthusiasm for taking a train when Ma and the girls moved by train from Plum Creek to Dakota Territory. There were too many unknowns for them.

p. 6  Pa said to Ma, “I’ll go with Docia tomorrow morning…  Nelson’s agreed to haul our stuff to the depot, and you’ll all come out on the train.”

p. 7  “Laura knew, of course, that people did travel on trains.  The trains were often wrecked and the people killed.  She was not exactly afraid, but she was excited.

Ma said in her quiet way, ‘I am sure we will manage nicely with Laura and Carrie to help me.’ ”

 

North Dakota 293

p. 16, “Clean and starched and dressed-up, in the morning of a weekday, they sat in a row on the bench in the waiting room while Ma bought the tickets.”

North Dakota 270

p. 16, “At the ticket window, Ma carefully counted money out of her pocketbook.”

 

North Dakota 280

p. 16, “The two satchels stood on the sunny platform outside the waiting-room door.”

North Dakota 274

p. 16, “Traveling on the train cost money.”

p. 30, “She knew now what Pa meant when he spoke of the wonderful times they were living in. There ha never been such wonders in the whole history of the world, Pa said.  Now, in one morning, they had actually traveled a whole week’s journey.”

In the end, Laura, of course, decided it was a thrilling adventure, to the point of wishing her pa was a railroad man.

 

 

For further study about the wonders of the train world:

Northern Pacific Railway Museum

Great Northern Railway History

Friends of the Burlington Northern Railroad

Pacific Southwest Railway Museum Association

Central Pacific Railroad

Railroad Hall at the Smithsonian (pics)

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3 thoughts on “All Aboard!

  1. M&M listen to the Laura Ingalls books read aloud from our Ipod EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. These two chapters are a few of their favorites. I think they would love to travel by train somewhere too.

    I’d like to go to the deep south and take a romantic old chugga-choo-choo through the Smokey Mountains since it seems that’s where they still take pride in the old trains. I took Amtrak to Texas with my Mom to visit cousins and then with Sonja to visit Dana in Fargo. Amtrak is not romantic but it was a fun adventure and I overall enjoyed train travel. You sure get a lot more leg room than in an airplane!

    🙂 Thanks for the new post. Hehe. Now I’ll give my teasing a rest.

  2. Was that something you bought or something you downloaded for free? I’d love the link! It would be fun to listen while doing other things. Trying to multitask all I can, ya’ know.

  3. I’ve never been on a passenger train. What an adventure, especially with young children. I bet you have some fun stories to tell about that trip, LOL 😉

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