I Will Meet You at the Station
There was a rail line that went through my home town. There was a train station in every town the railroad went through. It was one of those things that towns grew up around. Always near the rail lines were industries, post offices, lumber yards and brick yards. This is the way things got around before long haul trucking became so common. Back in the day, trucks were more for a local delivery and trains did all the long hauls.
Railroad stations were interesting places to me as a kid. I toured all the stations that my bicycle could take me to. They were temples of transportation. The insides were always large church-like rooms with pew like benches and every sound echoed seeming forever. My voice may still be echoing in some stations.
The train stations were staffed with men behind barred windows. I remember the one in my town wore a green visor, just like one would see in the movies. This person sold tickets and handed out schedules. Behind him was some ancient office equipment and an enormous safe.
I was at the Kelso train station on Saturday. This station looks very much like a proper station in my mind. There was only a hand full of passengers there waiting for the train to arrive and their voices echoed in the large hall. I secretly wished that train travel would once again become popular so that station could live in all its potential glory.
Another sad thing about this station other than its lack of use is that there is no ticket agent in the station. There is a barred window where one should be, but instead there is a computerized machine that scans printouts from home computers. It also accepts credit cards and prints tickets.
Every time I go there I hope to see an older bald man with a green visor and low slung reading glasses that sit upon an unsmiling face behind the barred window personally selling tickets to travelers.