Five

moiI didn’t note the day or the month, or even the year, for that matter. We say “when we were twelve” because that’s our best guess (though she probably remembers better than I).

It doesn’t really matter, the specific date, or even the year. What matters is that we met, and talked for a while one random, long-forgotten night. And then again another night, and another.

It was lost for a while, changes in life, adjustments in time zone, we didn’t connect at all and eventually lost touch completely. Until another random, long-forgotten night, when I decided to clean out my contacts list. She happened to be online, so I asked who she was. We talked some more, and eventually made a connection to an event we both remembered (something about underwear and pyromania).

Even for this, it doesn’t really matter, the specific date or time that we found each other again. What matters is that we did, and that we talked again, and again, and again, and then some more.

312570_10150300651507539_1218378609_nTime went by, and the story evolved in the way so many do. Boy meets girl, boy decides he likes girl and girl decides she likes boy, they get together and make the best of it. But that’s where we are a little different, because we are so far separated. Not in a Romeo/Juliet kind of way, our families didn’t hate each other – they didn’t even know each other. We faced a different challenge: isolation. I lived in Wellington, New Zealand, she lived in a small town somewhere in Virginia.

Somehow, though, we made it work. Through plane tickets and immigration paperwork and moving and money and more immigration paperwork, we made it work. And so here we are. Today marks five years since we committed to what we had in front of friends and family, what we had essentially committed to a few months before that by beginning the application process to USCIS, what we had almost committed to just by stepping foot on the planes the very first time, flying to meet the other, meeting the friends and family, seeing the home towns and environs.

Kelly, I love you. Here is to another five years, and then another five, and another five after that, until how long it has been doesn’t really matter anymore, until what matters is that we met that random, long forgotten night, so many years ago. You were, are, and maybe always will be the best decision I ever made – to ask who you were, and not to just hit “Delete.”

556623_551722792429_474591033_n

Trains from Broadway

2013-05-16_0141

Last night I happened upon a large number of old train documents that have been added to Google Books recently. I haven’t scanned for more recent dates, I just looked at 1906 and found three trains in each direction served the small town of Broadway, VA. That’s six a day, and four of those went to or came from Washington DC!

What’s more interesting is that I know where all of those locations are. And that the trip took upwards of five hours! Five! Today, we drive most of that in two hours, maybe three if you skip the interstates!

For more old train timetables, for anyone who is interested in the history or other parts of the country in that era, here is some more information on how to find the books in Google’s archives: http://www.naotc.org/oldguides/index.html

Photo Friday: Lonely

 

This was one of the last things I photographed in New Zealand, taken just a couple of weeks before I moved. I don’t know if it’s supposed to be a duck or a chicken, but it was sitting out in the rain close to the Wellington Airport.

I had decided to take a couple of days and just drive around, driving in no particular planned direction, just to see where I ended up and discover new things, as well as remembering old things.

The Drive Around the Bays is one I have done many times with my friends Sue and Amber, usually after church on a Sunday evening. We’d drive into Wellington and then do the loop around the bays (if you find a map of Wellington, it was basically a road that went all the way around the knob bit to the east of the airport). We’d stop somewhere and eat dinner – usually McDonalds or KFC, and then drive home. It was also a great time to talk about all kinds of things.

It’s certainly a downside here, not having the people to go with (it’d be fun to just drive somewhere with Kelly, but that was part of the fun of Sunday nights, being with friends I didn’t live with), and not really having the same kind of places to go.

 

Photo Friday: Something Old

Nestled in the grass on a family home in West Virginia are 4 old trucks. If only they could tell of the travels they had before they were left to the elements.. Where had they been? What cargo had they carried? Who had ridden in them?

Maybe their stories would all be boring and mundane – but maybe, just maybe, there would be something only they could know. Something worth knowing.

Photo Friday: Something New

I try really hard to take photos of things that aren’t trains, and most of the time this endeavor fails. Most Fridays I can be found somewhere close to a railroad track, holding a camera, listening to a scanner, and probably watching ATCS to find the next one. Last week I tried something new, I tried to break out of my regular photographic style a little. It kind of worked, though it is certainly in need of practice.

Typically I go for shots taken from close to the tracks, whenever possible. I have a few spots that I know well and use regularly. On Friday I tried to break out of that, and try firstly a different method of composition, and a couple of different places that I’ve never used, or never used in the same way before.

Such as the siding at Lynnwood (just south of Elkton, north of Grottoes). Usually I take up position on the east side of the tracks and get a nice tight view of the northbound train. This time I took the west-side, way back from the tracks and went for a wide view. The composition was good, but on reviewing the shots later, the camera didn’t cooperate with focus at all.

I did get this one, however, a little later in the day, at La Grange, just west of Staunton. Amtrak train #51, the westbound Cardinal between New York and Chicago is running a few minutes late on a Friday afternoon. If you look closely, you’ll see a full-length dome at the end. That is Amtrak’s last, and is placed on the Cardinal for a couple of trips during fall every year.

Photo Friday: Fallout Shelter

In the scenic county of Highland, Virginia, lies the small town of Monterey. Known for it’s regular events intended for drawing in tourists from all over, it apparently also had a Fallout Shelter built in the Courthouse/Jail building.

Not much seems to be publicly available about the shelter, though with a capacity of 55, and a town population of 150 or so, not everyone would fit..