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The Garden Train 


It took more than three months to build working at it every morning before the day became too hot to be outside.  On a good day I would have two or three hours before the sun had heated everything so much that even gloved hands felt the burning heat of the rocks and the brass rails.

It started as a solution to a long-standing dispute over what to do with one corner of the back yard.  Not a large area, only just more than ten feet by ten feet.  But it had stayed bare except for rocks and a few weeds since we moved in three years back.  My wife wanted a sitting area, a place to have tea or coffee.  I pointed out that the sun was hot and the wind would blow every afternoon.  We left it at an agreeable stalemate.

The solution came with her suggestion that a nice water feature with a waterfall and a small pond would be a nice addition to the landscape.  Without hesitation, I agreed and added that a bridge over the pond and a small mountain would provide a diverse layout.  And I quietly added that a water feature would be a perfect setting for a garden train.  Now mind you that I had suggested having a garden train in the back yard since we first moved in.  There was ample space, and the track would not interfere with the flower gardens.  Each of my previous suggestions had been met with a quick and very firm, NO.  This time I only received the evil eye.

I had to move fast.  I knew that if she thought about having not said no would be taken as if she had said yes, I would not have the option again.  Planning started immediately.  I already had the train and some track.  First I needed to create the pond and waterfall, bait to keep her from thinking that I was really focusing on my train.

The pond came first, two actually.  A larger lower pond and a smaller upper pond for the waterfall connected by a descending babbling creek.  Each was designed and placed so I would have room to lay the track, a double loop that would cross the creek on a bridge I would build.

Two weeks of digging out rocks, moving dirt and building a short retaining wall and I had the beginning of a water feature.  With the larger pond in place, and the mountain with the upper pond established, the overall concept was set and approved.  She liked what I was doing.  I explained how I would create a babbling creek to connect the ponds, showed her where the waterfall would be and even suggest places to put in flowers and other plants.  No once did I mention track or a station or a tunnel for the train.

More track arrived while I continued to develop the mountain and waterfall.  The water pump was installed, and electrical wiring laid for the pump and, also, for the train.  It was time to begin laying track and building the bridge over the creek.  I knew that I couldn’t leave the track exposed until I was almost finished.  Each day I would put down a section of track and then cover it with loose dirt.  The bridge was constructed in my garage and, when finished, would be installed in a single morning.  Progress was slow and steady.  My wife began making daily inspections to see how everything was looking.  She liked the extra dirt covered areas where she would plant more flowers.

The final day came, the day the bridge was to be installed and the last track connections completed.  I started early that morning, knowing that I wanted everything done before her inspection.  The bridge dropped into place and the track section across the bridge connected without any problems.  I used a broom to sweep the dirt from the track that had been laid and connected power to track.  All that was left was to place my locomotive on the track and make a quick test run. 

I heard the back door close as the train made it’s second loop around the track.  I stayed sitting on the ground, holding the controller in my lap and watch the locomotive climb the mountain and begin its trip across the bridge.

“Earl, what is a train doing in MY waterfall?”

“Good morning, dear,” I said as I slowly rose to my feet.  “All of this was your idea.”

“I never gave you permission to build another train, anywhere.  And definitely not in MY waterfall.”

“But, honey bunch, you did.  Don’t you remember?  I said a garden train would look perfect around the pond and waterfall.  Well, you didn’t say no.  That was the same as saying yes.”

Submitted: February 16, 2022

© Copyright 2022 ratwood2. All rights reserved.


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Excellent storytelling, ratwood2.

Wed, February 16th, 2022 6:39pm


Thanks for the read and the comment. I am finding flash fiction a great exercise in story telling.

Wed, February 16th, 2022 6:24pm

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