Unless you’re Andre The Giant or a railroad worker (length of a standard rail), these dimensions mean nothing to you. However, if you’re a stay-at-home parent, they still have relevance.
As a kid, I remember watching old spaghetti westerns with my dad and it always seemed like the outlaws would stowaway on trains to elude the authorities. At some point throughout our Saturday afternoon, after my dad fell asleep with grass clippings pasted to his sweaty ankles (product of a healthy push-mow), me and my brothers started to ask questions. We were vigilante kids, cutting through his snoring, sticking him in the ribs with action figures and Matchboxes, trying to figure out why Clint Eastwood would suddenly go horizontal, putting his ears to the railroad tracks for no apparent reason.
We shook the old mans lifeless body like we had started a kitchen fire. Once he came to, and realized there was no 5-alarmer, he begrudgingly entertained our press conference. “Why were these cowboys laying their heads down on a plate (railroad-tie) for an impeding 5,000 ton steel locomotive that would surely pop them open like a balloon?”
With one eye open, he would take a bite from our shared gas station hoagie (half-price for filling up!) and tell us that we shouldn’t get excited.
“It’s an old Indian trick”, he said. “He’s not committing suicide you dopes.” “By putting your ear to the rail, you can detect an oncoming train from miles away.”
Lately, I can only imagine that Ava has been deputized by local authorities or accepted some sort of unknown bounty. Maybe she’s hot on someone’s trail or perhaps, as reality has it, is a common toddler, throwing a fit at the playground in the middle of the day. Sometimes I want to be the fugitive on the run. I wish she would track me all the way to the car, jump up into her own seat and buckle herself in. I’ll keep daydreaming, as she continues to listen for the next train.
Somehow, 8 feet, 9 inches isn’t what it used to be.