I love trains, something my beloved father and I have in common. I have made at least one trip on the famous Disney train on every trip I’ve ever taken to the happiest place on earth. ((Disney please do not sue me for plagiarising your phrase,, I love you more than you will ever know and I wear your coordinates around my neck every day)) I think one of the major reasons I like train rides is because of my Dad. I think about him a lot when I’m choo-chooing into the universe.
You see, my Dad is one of the best people on this blessed earth. (Tied with my fantastic Mom, of course). He and I have a lot in common, more so than I would sometimes like to admit. We both overthink practically everything and strive to love others with as much power as we can muster. If you have the honor of knowing my Dad and the even greater honor of being loved by him never take that for granted. If Richard Campbell is in your life, count yourself very lucky.
My Dad has always valued my opinion. He has never spoken down to me or assumed my thoughts are invalid because of my age. He has always encouraged my brother and me to learn everything we can and to approach life with curiosity and love. And don’t even get me started on his sense of humor! That man could make you cry, laugh, and wish you could speak like him all in one prayer delivered in front of the family. He is the most amazing man in my life and has taught me everything I know and love about this world.
College constantly reminds me of how lucky I am to have such incredible role models in my life. When I come home from college, my Dad has the goofiest grin and most comforting hug. But he doesn’t just want to hear about my fun college adventures, he genuinely wants to know my thoughts on the world. I have so so so much respect for him. He’ll ask me my thoughts on current political issues, and though we do not always agree, he always respects my opinion. ((See guys, it is possible to hold respectful political conversations with your family)). I think about him a lot – every hilarious pun, every time I hear myself saying something I know he would say, every morning breakfast he’d call a feast – I think about that wonderful music-making man all the time.
When I sit on trains, I understand why he loves them so much. The world moves past you in the most beautiful way that a car just can’t quite capture. It isn’t like flying, where you feel so small compared to the great big world around you. No, you feel like you are one with the world and everyone sitting at your side.
My senior year, I found myself on trains quite a bit. A wonderful person in my life lived a little far from me and train-rides always seemed to be the most efficient way to travel to his corner of the world. I often made small talk with those around me; college students traveling home for the weekend, high school teachers who let me help grade their quizzes, boys who edited videos for hours before falling asleep against the window. I always felt like one with the world.
Travelling is one of the most fulfilling experiences, even if you’re just traveling a couple hours to a different town. Trains make me feel like I’m going on a great big journey, where I will learn something new of myself whilst being away from the worn-out views of my city. I plug in my headphones and pretend like I’m some character in a movie, ready to take on a new conflict and face the trials of life with a dimple on her left cheek.
I wonder if my Dad ever thinks about that, about feeling refreshed in a new place. I know that he consumes himself with his work; he, quite like myself, never accepts failure. If he knows how to do something, and knows he can get it done right, why wouldn’t he just do it himself? Why bother trusting someone else with a job we could easily accomplish on our own. I think we both have some room for growth there. We trust others, trust is key in our relationships, but our expectations are so incredibly high and we’d hate for someone to feel burdened by trying to match that.
I know that both of us want to make this world better – it’s that loving heart we both have sewed into our souls. We go about it in slightly different ways, but I can guarantee if my dad is in your life he has tried to make yours a little better. Whether it’s a light-hearted joke when the world feels like it’s crumbling, a jam-sesh where you can remember the ‘good-ole-days’, or just a polite smile passing by. He would never intentionally hurt someone, and I’ve seen that troubled furrowed eyebrow when he thinks he may have harmed someone far too many times. We both do that.
All this to say, I love trains and I love my dad, and if you have either one in your life you should probably take a second to thank whoever put them there.