From the top of South Mountain, the train below looked small. The tiny echo of the horn like a far-off bird calling.
She spent summers, bare footed, on the tracks side of the mountain. Never bored watching the tiny train ‘round Pentz’s curve.
She knew the schedules as well as a conductor or engineer. If the train was late, she worried til she could see the smoke, hear tiny horn echo.
She always smiled and sometimes waved as the train passed below her. She asked herself questions. Why were folks on the train? Where did the train go after it passed from her view?
One morning, she was told to get all scrubbed up and to put on a good dress, and “for god’s sake” wash those feet, and put on shoes and socks!
Going down the mountain was something unusual for her. She thought they were going into town, but instead headed toward the train station.
As the train pulled in, she was frightened at how big, powerful and noisy it really was. When horn blew, she jumped and covered ears, crying.
She stopped watching the train ‘round Pentz’s Curve. She had seen the difference between perception and reality. Childhood had ended.