Train Jitterbug

by Tom Cassan from Arthur, ON
Jul 4, 15

I travel extensively with my work. Recently, on one of my trips, I found myself stopped at a rail siding waiting for a freight train. It was shunting boxcars onto a siding and it looked like it was going to take awhile.

I wasn’t worried; it was a beautiful spring day and I had the car windows down and a CD blaring music.

I looked out the window of my car and noticed two couples out walking their dogs. Like me, they were waiting on the freight train. 

One of the ladies in that group looked over at me and smiled, then she turned to her friends and said something. 

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band was on the car stereo at the time playing ‘Rave On’, the old Buddy Holly tune.  

And as soon as the song started the folks on the sidewalk paired off and did the best version of the jitterbug that I have ever seen. Their dogs sitting and watching in amazement. 

I looked in the rearview mirror. The two ladies in the car behind me were clapping their hands and laughing.  

Behind them, a group of construction workers had opened the doors of their truck and they were clapping along in time to the music too.

When the train engine slowly pulled into view we saw railway workers with their faces pressed to the window, grinning. 

The train rang its horn. 

When the song finally ended I heard an emphatic “Awwright” from the construction workers.

Everyone was smiling. 

One of the men who had been dancing bent over to my window to say “Thanks Sonny”. 

The train cleared the road and we all moved on…but the lift that the song and those dancers had given me lasted all day. Dick Clark and the American Bandstand would have been proud.