Monday, June 8, 2009

Fathers and Fatherhood: Daddy, What’s a Train?

Utah Phillips: Daddy, What‘s a Train?


I wasn’t expecting to get to post the transitional tune this week, but here it is.

I am 43 years older than my son, (now 5). So I grew up on another planet. This was a world where TV signals came through the air, and were caught by something called an antenna. After a storm or a windy day, my father would go up on the roof, and turn the antenna back to its optimal position. A computer was a machine that took up an entire room, and only institutional users had them.

And, in the next town over, there was a railroad track. I always felt lucky when we happened to go through that town as one of those impossibly long freight trains came through.

A few years ago. they shut down that line. They pulled up the tracks, they even took out all of the railroad trestles. Now, if you didn’t know where the tracks used to be, you could never tell. Going back before my time, I imagine this happened a lot. Air freight came in, and it must have seemed like all freight shipping by train would become a thing of the past. And that would be around the time that Utah Phillips wrote this song.

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