For Three Word Wednesday, prompt words vision, motion, peaceful. Also submitted to dVerse OpenLinkNight, day late and a penny short.

We put pennies
on the track and waited
for the 2:00 train
to come blowing by,
curious to see
Lincoln’s face pressed
into peaceful copper
oblivion. Scoot, the
neighborhood know-it-all,
had told us that 
if some federal agent
happened to be spying
on us we could be
arrested for defacing
government property
and he hoped we’d all
be happy spending
a hundred years behind
bars. Or, with convincing
proof he explained
that even a penny
could disrupt the train’s
smooth motion, cause
it to jump rail
and dump its freight
from here to Royal Street.
Still we put
our pennies down,
ducked low behind
the shrubs and waited,
encouraged by Scoot’s vision
of cars and coal

piled in our backyards.

32 thoughts on “Pennies

  1. haha i wrote a similar piece a few years ago…our fear was def dislodging the train…this brought back some cool memories…i grew up by the tracks…i miss them when i am away…being at my moms house right now, i heard the train this morning…


  2. Maybe an element of danger is key to having fun..I have never rolled a penny on a train track but in sitting by that line with you I felt a little young again..dare I say even sparky..jae


  3. Bad boy!..I never knew that just a penny could do that, not when you see all of the garbage they have lined all the way along them these days too but, I suppose logically, it could happen. Still, as kids, we only ever see the fun of it and thrill at the sense of danger.
    I smiled a this Nico, remembering my own … bad days… lol


  4. I always wanted to do this, Nico! Never lived close enough to train tracks though to make it practical. Your words though captured that feeling of mischievous adventure we all had as children. Thank you.


  5. Thanks Brian. One of my childhood houses was only about 50 ft. from the tracks–everyone that came to visit (especially friends spending the night) complained about the noise. We were used to it and never gave it any thought. Have fun at Mom's!


  6. Thanks Bren–I've never tried to purposely disprove Scoot's theory, but with as many pennies as we put on the rails over the years, if there was any truth to it . . . total destruction!


  7. Thanks Sheilagh. We thought sacrificing a penny for the chance to see something big happen was a pretty good investment–we didn't even think about the possible loss of life!


  8. I used to do this only it was in England and we used to use halfpennies hoping to flatten them into pennies, but usually they were so thin and misshapen that they were worthless. We didn't even derail the train. Thanks for the memory Nico.


  9. Thanks Rob–I don't even think we had a real purpose in trying to squash the pennies. Some of them I remember boring a hole in and wearing as some kind of pendant on a string. I like the way you thought, though, trying to make whole pennies by flattening halves!


  10. Oh my! This takes me back. Like my nephew Robin (Old Egg), I used to do this in England, with the added thrill that our trains were electrified – the current of 1100 volts being carried by a 'third rail' hard by one of the track rails. I once had to recover a cricket ball that had been 'hit for six' over the boundary fence. The ball ended up on the railway track, right underneath the 'live rail'. That was one very, very slow and careful retrieval, I can tell you. Great memories.


  11. Thanks Robyn. Most of the fun came from doing something dangerous (whether the danger was real or supposed) or forbidden. We weren't allowed to even go near the tracks, so of course we spent as much time playing on them as possible.


  12. I can't get the picture of the penny shooting out from the tracks as the train passes and lodging itself into the forehead or eye. probably just as improbable as the other scenarios, but still…

    though I imagine to a bunch of boys any of would seem worth unsolving the mystery.


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