• Dale Bowman

The Rebel & railroad guys: Ramble with the Lady

The railroad guys were doing calisthenics when Lady and I rambled out of the wilds around the town pond.

The railroad guys, grown-ass men, looked kind of sheepish, as I circled behind their circle of calisthenics. Like maybe they were kind of embarrassed to have another grown-ass man watching them do arm circles and lifts.

The calisthenics were probably a good idea. I think some of them drove hours to work. They park at the grit area by the grain elevators on the edge of town; and have been for the last week or so. Must be some big construction work being done somewhere near here on the line.

So maybe two dozen guys were circled around the yellow circle of light coming from the open back of a company pickup.

When the leader said, ``Arm circles front,'' I noticed one old guy with a gray goatee on the left back of the circle circled his arms backwards.

(BTW, what I called an old guy looked like he might be an within a year or two of me. Not sure what that says about my self-perception.)

At first, I thought, ``Well, we found the group idiot.'' But the closer I watched, the more I thought he is a closet rebel. By the time we reached downtown and saw the chef/cook, who runs a food truck for nursery and migrant workers, finishing up loading his truck, I had a whole history for the closet rebel.

He grew up in Chicago's south suburbs and played in a garage band. He had a moment when he even played with Dennis DeYoung at parish hall in Tinley Park. But then his girlfriend, love of his life, got pregnant and he needed to work and used the pull of his uncle on his mom's side, Mick, to get into the railroad.

The kid they had after he first got the railroad gig now is a senior at Carl Sandburg High School and bangs the drums in the basement.

The drumming reverberates with hopes, dreams changed and memories stored.

Dudes and dudettes, I can ramble on and imagine with the best of them.

And so, he swings his arms in the wrong direction during calisthenics and remembers being a rock-and-rock rebel.

Or so I saw it.

Good thing I can imagine because I saw nothing in terms of wilds or nature that caught my eye this morning. I mean not even one squirrel, rabbit, dove or duck. Nothing.

It's that time of year.

We all want to feel a little rebel down inside, a little different from the billions of others.

It's universal.

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