Here we go again, another post about trains, right? If anything, I can identify a theme every now and again, though we have hardly become predictable. Sit back, enjoy a little bit of nostalgia while I focus on the tracks and the pace of this steam engine.
Alvin, Texas was never my home, though I often felt welcomed to it by the community I stumbled my way into; almost by accident or some divine intervention, depending on your flavor of spirituality, if any.
I was invited to a consultation meeting in my former life and career path of helping direct non profit youth programs. Alvin was just a short drive from where I was living in nearby Pearland, so upon invitation to a meeting of an organizational partnership with a unified vision of creating a space weekly for middle and high schoolers to find fellowship, I arrived. We discussed the aspirations and challenges that would be ahead for starting such a multifaceted venture. The principle of creating a space/program was simple by comparison to the intricacies of the political structures of committees within each organization, I would find. But it was remarkable to meet some of the hardest working and warm folks interested in creating something for their community.
I met with current and retired teachers, law enforcement officers, church leaders, grandparents and parents all who would pool their resources to see the start of a shared vision for their future.
Alvin in many ways is a far cry from the metropolitan of Houston that I grew up in. Nearly 32 miles south of the center of the city limits, Alvin is a relic of a small town. Tradition seeps from Alvin’s core, despite the recent build up of new businesses entering the area. Friday night in the Fall are made for Yellowjacket football. Spring and Summer usually bring about get togethers at the local Sonic or the 4 screen movie theatre. None of which is a dig, Alvin is extremely charming. Alvin is the community that parades for July Fourth and hosts Fall Festivals.
With development arrives opportunity, but opportunity can lead to change. But change can often be messy, unpredictable and often trying.
The expansion of the rail system in the United States was vital to connecting communities. It brought industry and a much wider range of trade to communities, even those like Alvin. The Train Depot is a central part of the town I remember. It greets you as you arrive and wishes you well and for a safe return as you leave.
As I regularly commuted in from Pearland after the initial consultation meeting turned into a job offer, I spent quite a bit of time seeing this Train Depot. Admittedly, the functioning rail usually had a long line of slow moving train cars pacing across the main road. And in light of a little bit of time on one’s hands, sometimes that meant a familiarity with one’s car radio.
The song this week is Joe Tex’s “Loose Caboose”. Yes, there is an obvious connection with the type of location featured, but I also chose this song because sometimes in the face of obstacle moving toward change, it doesn’t hurt to just loosen up and dance a bit. By yourself or with your friends; party size doesn’t matter. It’s the spirit of making the best of the cards you are dealt.
There were times that I listened to the dreams of some of the kids expand well beyond the opportunities available in Alvin at that time. College, Jobs, Starting families; all of which are worthy avenues that they have grown into. However, I always return to just how valuable the community that they come from is. The hard working and always welcoming Alvin that I grew to know.