I browsed various Tumblr blog posts this morning and paused to read through a list of thought-provoking questions.
147. Mars for Snickers?
Definitely Snickers, I thought.
148. What's your favorite quote?
Thoreau's "In wildness is the preservation of the world," popped into my mind.
149. Do you believe in ghosts?
150. Get the closest book next to you, open it to page 42, what's the first line on that page?
I grabbed my copy of Project Keepsake, flipped to page 42, and instantly recognized the story as Paul Garrison's "The Eastman Chemical Tank Car," a hauntingly beautiful story chronicling the life of an adopted son as he faces the death of his parents and searches for some type of resolution to the events of his life.
I know Garrison, and he doesn't consider himself a writer, yet his story is one of the most powerful stories in the collection. It stars a cast of real people I knew long ago, living tragic, tormented lives—divorce, sudden death, neglect, psychological abuse, dementia, grief. I wept the first time I read it.
At the core of the story is a young boy's innocence, imagination, and his love of train sets—a simple and almost universal concept.
Just like the other stories in the book, Garrison's story isn't really about his keepsake. His model train car holds thousands of memories. He condensed the memories and emotions down and penned the story. Here's another excerpt from the book.
Garrison's story reminds us that like a train, life barrels down its course taking different tracks as directed by some grand engineer. We can't stop it. Some of the changes are welcome, while others are not.
Do you have a keepsake? Where did it come from? Why is it special? Share the story.
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