December 16, 2022
Yesterday I drove US 95 north from Fallon. About a mile south of the intersection with Interstate 80, there was (is) a railroad crossing. The arms were down as some railroad workers were doing something to the arms. I would have been the vehicle closest to the arms but in my rear view mirror I noticed an 18-wheeler; for some reason, I decided to pull onto the shoulder just in case the trucker wasn't paying attention.
While we sat as the rail workers did their thing, I noticed six crosses near the intersection in one of those roadside memorials that we've all seen. I think because there were so many crosses, I walked over to them. The memorial was weathered, but I could still make out the names -- besides the names were the age and where the person was from. A couple of last names and hometowns were the same, but it was clear it wasn't one family.
Other than the crosses there was a piece of orange rubber tubing with writing on it. It was a woman's name and the words "Amtrak conductor."
I Googled the conductor's name with the word "Amtrak." Success -- there were some news articles tied to her.
She and the six others died in 2011 when an Amtrak train they were on was hit by an 18-wheeler at that intersection.
I tried to comprehend what I had just read. And I tried to understand why it had occurred to me to pull over to the shoulder just in case the trucker behind me was distracted.
We never know when our time will be up. We go about each day as though our death is far off. Hopefully it is. Just in case, I plan to be more present and share all that's in my heart every day.