A Christmas Shopping Conversation.I live in Turkey NC which is just up I-40 to exit 364 then west on Hwy 24 a few miles. This is a story I wrote about a recent visit to the mall there in Wilmington.
My wife Sara and I went to Wilmington NC Christmas shopping. Now I am no shopper. As a matter of fact I despise it. But we were in the mall and there is a new church in there by Sears. They were giving out free coffee and hot chocolate so I got me a cup of coffee and sat down on a bench by an older lady sitting in a rocking chair. She said "is that where the free coffee is" and I said "yes mam" she said "well I'm going to get me some hot chocolate. Somebody will probably get my chair." "I won't let anybody get your chair" I said. She got her hot chocolate, came back and sat down and we started talking. She told me that she was there with her daughter and she just had to sit down and rest. She said "I just can't hold out to shop like I used to." She talked about her children, I talked about mine, she talked about her grandson that has autism and I told her about how our daughter Stephanie has taken an interest in working with special needs children. I told her about our first grandbaby being born in August. "Boy or girl?" she asked "Girl" I replied. "Oh my goodness!" she quickly said with a big smile. "I'll bet your wife is in there looking at all those pretty baby clothes." I just laughed and said "Yes mam, just in every single store we go in!" We talked on and I asked her if she grew up in Wilmington. She said " No, I grew up in a small town called Wallace, do you know where Wallace is?" "Yes mam, I know exactly where that is." I replied. Well, then I got a little excited because I know that the train used to run right through Wallace so I asked "Do you remember seeing the train going through Wallace." "Why sure I do!" she responded quickly. "When I started working with the telephone company in 19-( she said fifty- something I really don't remember because my brain was scattered with the thoughts of this lady riding the Shoo-fly train)" every time I had a day off, I would ride the train back to Wallace to visit with my family and then ride it back to Wilmington." She told me that her grandfather worked in the Steam train water filling station and that her uncle operated the "turnouts" and "switches" for the railroad. She said every time she goes to Wallace it makes her sad because of the way things have changed so much. I told her about one of my songs called "The Memory Of The Train" and how it was inspired by the town of Calypso as well as all of the towns that were built around the railroad. I gave her a card with my website on it because I know she will love the song because she actually lived it. By this time Sara was walking out of Sears and she just sat down beside me. The lady leaned over and looked at Sara and said "I've stolen your husband away from you." We all laughed and I told her that it was nice to meet her and that I had really enjoyed talking to her. We wished each other a very Merry Christmas as we walked away. I never did get her name but I feel blessed that I was in that place at that moment in time and met yet another person that remembers such an important part of this nation's history, the Train!titled