My Brother Met a Train Yesterday

I’ve stopped shaking long enough to post this blog from my brother. I wanted it here on the main page and I will add it to his page in a day or two, but I wanted you all to see it right away.

As most of you know, my first husband was killed by a train. I don’t know what I’d have done if I lost my brother the same way.

Here’s Marty’s story:

“The first person I’d like to meet in heaven.”

We’ve all heard that question, “Who is the first person you’d like to meet or greet when you get to heaven?” The answers vary from Shakespeare to Houdini or relatives to politicians. It may be someone from the Bible or from the movies.

The first person I’m going to track down is my guardian angel. I’m going to give him or her a big hug and a hearty handshake, and then take them out for dinner. I’m hoping there will be restaurants in heaven. My guardian angel was looking out for me once again early yesterday morning, Monday, October 08.

It was a dark and rainy morning when I left my house at 7 AM to go to work. I wanted to be sure to arrive early since there was a monthly sales meeting planned for 8 AM. For some odd reason, I chose to drive a slightly different route to the office. As I was driving down a quiet residential street called Brookside Ave, I followed the left hand turn in the road and proceeded slowly over the railroad tracks.

I’ve set the stage now for various scenarios, haven’t I with darkness, rain, and railroad tracks? Let’s add three other ingredients – no flashing red crossing lights, no train whistles, and no train headlights. So, what happened?

As I began to cross the tracks, I heard glass shattering and metal crunching, and I felt the impact of something heavy hitting my truck. I did not know what had just happened. I looked to my right and saw that a small locomotive with a large crane arm mounted to the front had just struck my truck. This particular locomotive is called a “Kershaw Tie Crane”. The crane and steel jaws are used to lift and place railroad ties. It was the first of four locomotive work engines heading down the tracks to a jobsite.

I looked around the truck cab and saw broken glass everywhere. The outside mirror from the right side was now lying on floor beneath my feet. I was covered in broken glass. My truck was still running and I was able to pull it over to the side of the road. I got out and started walking back towards the tracks where the locomotive engineer and several other railway workers were standing. They asked me if I was okay and I said I think so. I said it appeared that the crane arm took out my passenger side windows.

That’s not all it took out. When I headed back to look at the right side of my truck, it was as if someone had taken a large can opener and peeled away the metal side front to back.

To make this short, they had decided not to activate the red flashing crossing lights. I’m not sure why. I could not see them coming since trees block the view to the right of what may be on the tracks when driving west to east. There were no warning whistles or horns. To quote the locomotive engineer as he talked with the police officer, “That poor guy didn’t have a chance.” That “poor guy” referred to me. I did have a chance, however. I had a guardian angel.

On this particular morning, I used up the third of my nine lives. After arriving at the auto body shop with the tow truck driver, we surveyed the extensive damage, which is likely going to “total” my truck. One thing struck us. Had that crane arm been elevated one or two inches higher in the air, it would not have struck the side of my truck with such force from front to back. It would have slid across the hood and taken out the windshield, the cab, and me.

In spite of the fact that I had broken glass in my shoes, my briefcase, my computer case, my drivers seat, and everywhere else, I had no scratches or cuts. In the rain I leaned on the shoulder of one the railway workers so I could dump glass out of my shoe. It was a morning I’ll not forget.

Today, I’m puttering around in a tiny Toyota Corolla rental car with my butt dragging on the ground, looking up at cars as they drive by. I’d prefer to be sitting up in the cab of my Ford F150 4X4 truck, looking down at cars as they drive by. It really doesn’t much matter at this point.

Whatever position I’m in, I find myself once again looking up to the heavens, thanking God one more time for looking out for me. I don’t know the name of that guardian angel assigned to follow me around, but I hope to someday. They certainly have been busy. He or she can fill me in on the details of all the other “near misses” in my life that I don’t even know about.

You, too, have a guardian angel assigned to follow you around. I’m convinced of it, even it you are not. Think of those “near misses” in your life. It doesn’t hurt to pause and be grateful. God likes to hear from us. I’m sure He’ll let that angel know when he does hear from us.

So, who do you want to look for when you first get to heaven? Is it some insignificant Hollywood actor or author? Why not look for your guardian angel, give them a big hug, and take them out for dinner? That’s the first thing I’m going to do.

One thought on “My Brother Met a Train Yesterday

  1. Marty!! Marty!! Marty!!
    I am SO glad your guardian angel is watching out for you! We would certainly miss you forever! Lynn it’s always a treasure reading your column!
    Love your cousin

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