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. The years were formational 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.
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 not having vacation days the rest of the year. 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.
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.’ ”
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.”
p. 16, “At the ticket window, Ma carefully counted money out of her pocketbook.”
p. 16, “The two satchels stood on the sunny platform outside the waiting-room door.”
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: