The Father and the Drawbridge

DrawbridgeA young man and his son decided to spend the day together, as they typically did each Saturday.  As they set out early in the morning, they hadn’t yet decided if they would hike through the woods, go to the ball game or try to catch some trout together.  Whatever their decision would be, their greatest delight was simply in being together for the day.

Their first stop was the local train station, where the father was the operator of the nearby drawbridge.  As the father and son jumped out of the car, the son made his way up onto his daddy’s shoulders and they walked along the tracks a few hundred yards to the drawbridge station.  As they walked along, the two laughed and carried on, basking in the joy of one another’s company.  As the son climbed down from his daddy’s shoulders, the father quickly immersed himself in his railroad work so that he could then get on with the real order of business – a day of frolicking and fun with his cherished son.

Suddenly, a train whistle broke through the silence.  Alarmed by the fact that a train was quickly approaching, the father was immediately overcome by two observations – that the drawbridge was not in position for a train to pass and that his son had wandered off and was nowhere to be found.  As he searched for his son, a terrified look engulfed the father’s face – his son was playing in the gears of the drawbridge and would be crushed to death if the bridge was lowered into position for the train to pass.  Realizing that he had no time to remove his son from the gears and that the lives of several hundred train passengers were at stake, the father was overcome with grief at his impending decision.

After a few moments of lonely anguish, the father slowly but deliberately pulled the lever, turning the gears of the drawbridge and lowering it into position for the train to safely pass to the other side.  He then turned his face away so as not to look upon the agonizing death of his beloved son.

However, when he finally did turn to look at the drawbridge, he noticed something about the passengers on the train as it traveled off into the horizon.  They were laughing among themselves and having a grand old time, unaware of the price that had just been paid for their very lives and ungrateful for the father’s sacrifice of his dearly beloved son.  The father slowly and quietly walked away, tears streaming from his eyes and a look of sorrow engulfing every crease in his face.

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