posted on Nov, 11 2009 @ 01:21 AM
(This is a true story.)
The spring of 1973 was my last semester of high school. There were five of us who had been really tight all through out junior and senior high but
Danny and I were going into the military after graduation and we all knew this was about the end of our good times together. We tried to spend at
least one night a week as a group and get out and do something together.
This night we were all over at Michael's house and decided to jump in his car and cruise into the big city to the local Dairy Queen. Mike had a
Mercury Montclair, a big old sedan he had inherited from his mom. It was a unique four-door sedan as it had a back window that went up and down like
the back window of a station wagon.
It was a warm spring night, we were all in a boisterous mood, the radio was blaring, and of course if Danny was in the car he was loudly entertaining
us with some tall tail or other. Five teenagers in a car on a Friday night can be pretty raucous.
Mike lived just off of 56th street so it was logical to take it east into the city, as it was the shortest route to where we were headed. This is a
very rural road that leads into the city from our town. Before you cross over into the next county there is a railroad track crossing that bisects the
road at a diagonal.
In this part of the country where all the tracks are located, the rail bed is built up at least 10 feet to bear the weight of the trains, therefore to
cross one, you have to go up and over the track rail bed, then come down, and continue on your way. This railroad crossing is well known for being
dangerous, we had all grown up in the area and knew it well.
This night we approached the tracks and because of the way it is situated you can see down it a long way to the south as you approach it, but you have
to turn your head and look back over your shoulder to the north to see if it is clear. Being in the country there were no streetlights and in the
midwest in the country it is dark! The best thing to do is stop, look far down the track for the rotating light on the front of the train, and listen
for the horn.
Mike stopped the car, we all looked to the south and then we all looked to the north. We didn’t see or hear anything so Mike drove up and crossed
over the tracks. The car had not moved 10 feet away from the track when a freight train went screaming past to the south its horn just a blaring! The
wind, from the speeding train and the deafening sound of the loaded freight cars, swirled through the lowered rear window.
Mike slammed on the brakes and we all sat there in silence just shaking. We had all came that close to dying. We all realized that the train had been
so close, and because the light is mounted near the top of the locomotive, when we looked to the north, the darkness we thought was nothing was the
Because the radio was on and we were all talking we didn’t here the horn. For a very long period, we all sat there in stunned silence, listening to
the freight train rumble past, as we all contemplated what had just transpired, and what could have. Some of us, said a prayer of thanks, I know I
Finally, Mike’s voice broke the silence. “What is the date today?” Somebody responded it was, Friday, April 20th. Rick, sitting in the back,
spoke up. “Actually, today is Good Friday, and it is the first day, of the rest of our lives.” And it was.