Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Ten Year Old's Trip of a Lifetime - Part III (A Physics Lesson and a Hymn)

   Exploring without supervision became the mode of the trip.  We were at an age that our parents felt safe letting us roam around the train or at least my parents didn't want to be cooped up in the cabin with us.   I don't remember our behavior overstepping the bounds of decent manners but we went up and down that train numerous times.  
     My brother and I had our first physics lesson as we crossed the southwest. We were convinced that if we stood at one end of the hallway on the pullman car and jumped straight up that the train would pass beneath us and we would land on the other end of the car.  No matter how high we jumped we landed in the same spot.  Since I wasn't a Physics prodigy it took a few years before I could make sense of that enigma.  In retrospect, it is a good thing we didn't end up at the other end of the car.  Can you imagine if my Dad had stepped out of his cabin just as we were hurtling through the air from one end of the car to the other?  I would have been confined to the cabin for the rest of the trip.
     The modern equivalent of a train trip like ours would probably be a cruise ship.  A feature on the train that isn't necessary on a cruise ship is the observation or dome car. John and I spent many hours up in the dome car on that second day as we crossed the southwest.  We tended to stay in our seats for long periods of time because, as I recall, once you left your seat it might take quite a while before you found another empty seat.

Santa Fe Dome Car

     The second evening on board the San Francisco Chief made quite an impression on me.  As my brother, John, and I sat in the dome car, someone started began playing a guitar and the rest of the passengers started singing along.  I remember that jam session vividly.  It was the first time that I remember hearing what I later learned was the Battle Hymn of the Republic.  To this day when I hear that song, I am taken back to that dome car.

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.

Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.

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