The Humming Bird

Jun 2020
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Who remembers the Hummingbird? One delightful June morning in the late 50s, Dad dropped Mom and me off at Gulfport’s train station. He then motored to New Orleans and would meet us there, while Mom and I rode the Hummingbird. I remember how smoothly the train glided out of the station, as we took our seats. Mom and I then made our way to the dining car for breakfast. Oh! What a sight to behold!

The tables were set with crystal and china, a crisp white tablecloth too. Brightly polished silverware reflected the yellow-gold sunlight. The water in a petite vase filled chrysanthemums and lilies danced to the gentle sway of the dining car. From the kitchen car, the smell of frying eggs and bacon, coupled with the smell of freshly brewed coffee, filled the air. As we sat at our table, looking at the passing scenery, the Hummingbird dashed across the Bay St. Louis train trestle.

To this day, I can see the wavy sunlight reflected off the tawny-brown waters of the bay. That same light sashayed around the dining car as well. Because we could not see the trestle beneath the train, it was as if we were floating atop the water. When Mom and I arrived at the station in New Orleans, Dad met us with a smile. Son, how was your trip, he asked? For hours, I babbled on about how thrilling it was, how friendly everyone was, and how I’d love to do it again.

As I look around me today, with our dear country wrapped in disorder and confusion, I long to take one last train ride to do nothing more than escape it all. And although train travel is not what it once was, I’ll close my eyes and remember a train ride long ago. I’ll remember a bright-eyed, carefree little boy dressed in his Sunday best. How he was in awe of the Hummingbird, to him a living, breathing creature of glistening, blue and yellow steel. I’ll remember how it rumbled through the countryside, its constant clickety-clack forever in my mind. And then I’ll remember Mom. And I’ll remember Dad. I’ll remember how they loved me; a precocious, solitary child busting with energy and endless questions about life. Now it just me, and oh how I long to take one last, long train ride Home…

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