Mothers, Sons, Trains, Artists

I was on my bike on my way to pick up  a dozen eggs when I saw her holding him near the LRT crossing in Belgravia, pointing at the train.

The eggs get released once every two weeks to subscribers of the University of Alberta's heritage chicken program. The idea is to support the viability of breeds selected out of the conveyer belt egg industry. This is how we have gotten to know Brown Leghorns, White Leghorns, New Hampshires, Light Sussexes, Plymouth Rocks, and Rhode Island Reds.

It was chickens I was thinking about as I pedalled along the bike path on 114 St on the way to the University Farm. I squeezed the brakes as I came up to 76 Ave. A mother was holding her young son in her arms just ahead on the path. The three-wheeled stroller stood empty beside them. I heard her say look!

Paths crossing

"Watching the trains?" I asked as I pedalled closer.

"Yes," she said. "It's pretty exciting."

I laughed as I passed them. And then I turned around and went back toward them.  Maybe I am getting old. Maybe getting old means I am figuring out what is worth going back to tell a stranger about. But I said what I thought at that moment.

"Our youngest son is 22 now and when he was a boy he and his mom would ride the LRT back and forth over the river," I said. She smiled.

"He loved it."

I continued, sensing she didn't think I was crazy.

"For Mother's Day one year he wrote her a song about it," I said. "She cries whenever she hears it!"

The mother smiled again and nodded and said wow, that's special.

"These days are the best," I said, motioning at her young one. "Have a good day!"

A force rose inside me, and I went back again. I felt I didn't get that right at all.

"The days are all special," I said. Because that's what Shelagh would have wanted me to say.

I think we think the old days are the best days not because they are the best but because they sit there still, preserved, before being undone by the flow of time. Those days are special because we apply art to them. We frame them and tell stories about them and sing songs about them.

As I pedalled on to the farm, I recalled a lyric from Mikey's song,

Do you remember when
We took the train and then
We took it back across the river? 

Long live mothers and sons and trains and artists.

I love egg pickup day.


  1. Just a note of appreciation, this is beautiful. Thank you.

    1. Well, you are welcome. The thanks go right back. Thank you for reading and the comment. Made my day. :)

  2. Well said Glenn....reading the same story...over and over......telling the same jokes....over and over......things that parents do.....good reminder!

  3. Yes, yes. And then seeing the same roles played by the next wave of mothers and sons.

  4. I came here from Seen and Heard and just wanted to tell you that this is a beautiful post!

  5. Well, thank you. You made my day. ��❤


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