Throwing the Switch

I remember a video of tremendous impact.

The story would have occurred in the thirties in one of the southern states. Summer time.

Breakfast, and a Father is collecting his things for a day’s work on a section of railroad track over a deep gorge, after a curve emerging from forest. He will walk to the location having stashed most of his needed equipment there the day before. Yesterday a crew, but today alone in the sun for some fine tuning.

Kisses his wife and squeezes the 12 year old boy’s shoulder in playful fashion.

Clean-up chores are shared at the home. Minutes later the Son discovers that Father has forgotten his bagged lunch. “Mom look at this. I think Dad mentioned the trestle at Mile 432. It’s only about a forty minute walk. I’ll go see him. I know the way.”

Scene shifts to a pleasant summer’s holiday walk along the line, clouds moving by slowly, birds singing in the trees.

Soon the gorge is reached and one sees two tracks across the trestle. A dizzying height. Roiling river below. The boy picks the track without all the tools scattered; waves to his Dad.

“Son, don’t look down. Keep to the middle of the line, and mind you don’t trip over the ties.”

Junior is now about half way across the 300 foot bridge and a whistle is heard out of the woods. Father looks back down the track to the curve. Looks down at the rail switches presently directing traffic to the disabled line.

Scene shifts to the people inside the train. All shapes, sorts and sizes, enjoying the happy summer’s outing. Probably the ten-forty-five from up-state.

Presently the train clears the forest. Engineer up front sees the ongoing repairs and the boy directly in front on the good line. The man’s face is all terror. Too late.

The Father looks out over the void to his beloved, and throws the switch, saving multiple lives and causing one precious death at Mile 432.

The screen goes black and the text of a scripture passage appears…


For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son…John 3: 16




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Married and father of two. Living in Waterloo, Ontario. Workplace health and safety professional. Blogger. Poet. Nature hiker. History buff. Inspirational writer. Newsboy for Jesus.

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