Friday, August 14, 2020

Working on the Railroad: Use Your Words

Today’s post is a monthly writing challenge. If you’re new here, this is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once. All of the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the recipient will take them. Until now.

Use Your Words, a multiblogger writing challenge | developed and run by | #MyGraphics

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.
I'm using: railway ~ breaks ~ saws ~ bird ~ variety ~ platform 
They were submitted by Jenniy of Climaxed.

I bet you know where these words took me. Yup, to trains.

The boys loved trains when they were little. Firetrucks would catch their interest too while we were out doing our errands, but on the occasions when we happen to see a train? That was the best. If there was a safe place to pull off the road, I'd whip over to the side and stop, sometimes resulting in an angry driver flipping me the bird (sorry, had to use that word and it's not so easy to work into a post about trains). On those occasions, the big locomotives would speed past us with a whoosh, rocking my car. We'd sit there listening to the click clack, click clack of all the cars until the caboose passed. "I'm going to work for the railroad," my youngest would always say, inevitably resulting in my loudly singing "I've been working on the railroad," to those poor kids' dismay.  

We don't have any local commuter trains here, at least not anywhere near us, the railways all through this area are populated only by Union Pacific trains carrying freight. Sometimes we'd pass by a train going in the opposite direction always wave to the conductor. More often we'd be driving to the mall on a street that passed under the tracks. Every now and then, if we got really lucky, we'd be driving down the road where their preschool was, the road parallel to a section of tracks, when a train would come up beside us. I'm going to work for the railroad," my youngest would always say, inevitably resulting in my loudly singing "I've been working on the railroad," to those poor kids' dismay.  

In the summers we'd take breaks from the steaming heat of the Midwest and head to the beaches of the East Coast. I'm from the Boston area, where there's a local transit system called the T, with a variety of options for little train lovers. There are streetcars, which are more like a bus on rails. No platforms, just jump on from one of the stops on the road. We'd ride them with my sister and her kids, such a fun adventure for the kids (maybe not so much my sister's two kids, but definitely mine). You can also, though, take an actual commuter train that would make local stops, and every now and then we'd make a day of it. In fact, one of my favorite pictures of the 4 cousins is of them sitting together on a seat on one of those train rides. 

We'd ride for a while and then get off in another town where we could walk to a local park. The kids would play for a few hours, ride the swings, go down the slides and make each other dizzy on the seesaws. After juice boxes and cookies that we'd packed for the day out, they had the train ride home to look forward to.   

Raspberry Lemon Crunch Cookies, a sweet lemony snack, start with a cookie mix, add a few ingredients, roll in sugar and bake. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #cookies

Raspberry Lemon Crunch Cookies
Raspberry Lemon Crunch Cookies, a sweet lemony snack, start with a cookie mix, add a few ingredients, roll in sugar and bake. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #cookies

Back on the train, kids happy and tired and full of snacks, we'd ride, swaying in our seats, back to the station where my sister had left her car. "I'm going to work for the railroad," my youngest would always say, inevitably resulting in my loudly singing "I've been working on the railroad," to all four kids' dismay.  

These are all such fun memories, but time passes, kids get older, and dreams change. We don't pull over to watch trains go by any more, although I do often smile when I see one, remembering when we did. These days I have no little ones to embarrass with my loud refrains of "I've been working on the railroad."  

And that little boy, convinced he'd someday work for the railroad? He grew up and went off to college, majored in Computer Science and is currently working in Boulder Colorado as a Senior Applications Developer. 

Oh, and who does he work for? 

Union Pacific.

Here are links to all the other Use Your Words posts:

Wandering Web Designer
On the Border 
Part-time Working Hockey Mom 

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Raspberry Lemon Crunch Cookies

12 lemon sandwich cookies 
1/3 cup yellow, pink and/or red colored sugar
1 package sugar cookie mix
1/2 - 1 cup butter or butter substitute (amount recommended on package), room temperature
1 egg
1 tsp raspberry extract
1/4 cup freeze dried raspberries

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover baking sheets with parchment paper.

*Crush the lemon sandwich cookies to small pieces (not crumbs).
*Place the colored onto a plate.
*Mix together the cookie mix, butter or substitute, egg, raspberry extract, freeze dried raspberries, and crushed cookies until it forms a dough.
*Roll the dough into approximately 3/4 inch balls. Flatten slightly, press one side into the colored sugar and place them onto the baking sheets, sugar side up.
*Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until the cookies just start to brown around the edges. Allow to sit on the baking sheets for 2 minutes before removing to cool completely.


  1. I had no idea PurDude worked for Union Pacific - that is a wonderful twist! It's like people in the airline industry. They claim to have kerosene running through their veins for life.

    C loved his trains and trams when he was 2-3 years old, and we'd spend time at stations and tracks. He never planned on working in this field though.

    Love Boston's T, Chicago's L and San Francisco's cable cars - such a unique experience.

    Now if you don't mind I'll have a cookie of five and call it a day...

    1. Yes, I wrote a few posts about his going to work for Union Pacific 2 years ago when he got the job, but you may have missed those posts. It is a funny twist that he ended up working for them, but they're a Fortune 500 company and it's a great place for him to be (even if it did take him 8 hours away).

  2. I didn't know your Boulder son worked for Union Pacific. Isn't life strange in how childhood loves can follow us in different forms? My husband, who grew up about 40 miles from New York City, loved riding the subways when he visited NYC. His uncle did work for the New York City transit authority! As a native New York City person, the trains were a part of my everyday life growing up. Where I lived, the subways were elevated above ground. The sound of the 3rd Avenue "El" rounding a curve in hearing distance of my house would lull me to sleep at night. I still sometimes soothe myself to sleep at night remembering that screechy, but beloved, sound. Alana

    1. I know just what you mean, sounds, just like smells, from our childhood can be so soothing.

  3. I LOVE this post! Oh, the memories. And of course he'd be working for the railroad! :)
    On the prairies the trains are loooong. We'd always sit and count the cars. The highest we got was 147.
    There is nothing that says 'prairies' to me more than hearing the train whistle echoing across the plains.
    Of course it's not nearly as entertaining when it's six feet away from your camper because you camped after dark just though the bushes from the tracks and no one (ie. camp manager) told you the tracks were there. But that is a whole other story! :)

    1. And, as always, another story I'd love to hear. I'll be watching for it on your blog. Be sure to say that I was the inspiration, or PurDude was, LOL!

  4. Replies
    1. I'd love to say it's my imaginative brilliance but it's just the truth.

  5. Our city is a commuter train destination and my grandson loves them. We have a railroad museum here and Santa visits every Christmas.

    1. Yes, we have one here too. It's way downtown so we didn't go often, but we would take the boys now and then.

    2. Oh, that's a great story! Even better that it's true and has such a classic ending.

    3. Those words were just begging me to write about this, so glad I got them.

  6. I haven't gotten on the amtrak yet. I picked up a client who said it's 17 hours from MN to NY. Seems long. they said they may or may not be as nice as they used to be:)

    1. Last time I road a train to get to a destination it was like 5 hours from Boston to Connecticut, an absurd amount of time to go such a short distance because of stops along the way.

  7. I think every little boy's first job wish involves trains or trucks. But not many of them make their wish come true.

    1. Here's hoping that they all get to make some wish of theirs come true.


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