Letters To My Sons | December

Dear Grey,

Cash was about your age when he first became obsessed with trains so you are following right behind, or should I say, right on track. I know, an eye-rolling pun, but I couldn't help myself and in any case, it's true. You get excited each day when it's time to ride the subway and spend most of your play time in your room, cheek to the floor and butt in the air, rolling train cars along wooden tracks. It only made sense then, that Pow Pow should take you to see the freight trains during our recent visit.    

There is an old abandoned bridge near Grandma and Pow Pow's house, open only to pedestrians, where if you wait long enough you're sure to see train lights in the distance. I don't think you really knew where we were going or what we were looking for. But once that first train came down the tracks - right underneath where we were standing! - you knew exactly. And then could hardly wait for the next one to come.

Trains don't run that often on holidays so we were thankful to catch two of them barreling down the tracks. I, for one, was amazed at Pow Pow's endurance. I know just how heavy you are (a thirty-eight pound future nose tackle for the New York Giants!) and he didn't flinch, holding you for a good couple minutes each time while you counted train cars. Your great-grandfather (Pow Pow's dad) lived to be 100 years old and Pow Pow is a fit 82, so you come from good stock boy. Strong-Like-Bull stock!  

Pow Pow said that they are planning to tear down this old bridge sometime next year, so I'm grateful you had the chance to go trainspotting before this trusty lookout is no more. A lifelong train fanatic himself, Pow Pow discovered the perfect place where you and your brother could get up close and "feel" the freight's awesome power beneath you. "Go ahead and wave," Pow Pow always says as the train is just about to reach the bridge and it's never long before you hear the whistle blow.

I often imagine what the train engineer is thinking when he sees us standing there on the bridge. Does it remind him of when he was a boy? Of days spent watching trains with his own father or grandfather. Did he always dream of becoming a train engineer? I don't know the answers, but one thing is for sure. He most certainly sees tremendous joy and love looking down from above.

My dear son, throughout your life many trains will come and go and maybe a couple of old bridges will be abandoned and torn down. But you'll always have memories like these to remind you of how you are loved. Especially how much Pow Pow loved you and wanted to see you smile. 

Like the awesome power of the freight trains you so admire, may your wildest dreams carry you to the farthest reaches of this world and may your heart and will remain strong. Strong. Like. Bull. 

Always & forever,