I’ve wanted to show you this abandoned boxcar for months now.

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It sits all by itself on the side of a Louisiana highway. Abandoned. Alone. Lonely? Probably not.

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I have never stopped to photograph it, though, not until now. I always drove past it on my way to town, and I imagined all sorts of gruesome scenarios that I won’t detail here.

Suffice it to say, I didn’t survive in any of the scenarios.

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But Norm was with me on this trip to town. After he stopped at the dump to discard our weekly household detritus, I asked him to pass by (i.e., “stop at” in New Orleans vernacular) the boxcar. He knew exactly to which boxcar I was referring. I mean, there aren’t too many abandoned boxcars on Highway 34. Not that I’ve noticed anyway.

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Norm smiled, rolled his eyes, and shook his head when I told him why I had never stopped before when he was not with me.

He gave me a knowing look – the one that says, “I do not in the least understand your thought process, wayward wife of mine. But I will indulge you yet again.”

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His indulgence has led me down many roads I would not have had the courage to face alone…..

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……like the path that led me to photograph this boxcar. He turned the nightmarish scenarios into a walk-in-the-park daydream. As I peeked into the doors and windows, I imagined who might have turned this place into a home, then left it there to be taken by nature. A family? A hobo of another era refusing to let go of the wandering life? A woman with a knack for carving space into a home?

Who knows?

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I will never know the answers to those questions. But this I do know – I would never have imagined those questions if Norm had not been by my side to allow me to see the possibilities of this place rather than the horror.


But Norm has always done this for me. Happy Father’s Day to the man who gifts me with possibility, and who gave me that which I most wanted in life – a child.