Writer ponders, �When did the world change?�

Writer ponders, â�?�?When did the world change?â�?�? By Paula Damon �? �? �?  That middle-aged woman you saw sitting in her car at the railroad crossing waiting for a train on Military Road in Sioux City, Iowa â�?�? that was I. �? �? �?  Flashing red lights on big iron posts had stopped me about 20 feet from the tracks. That was I sitting there all alone, being obedient, while other vehicles continued to race by. �? �? �?  Right in front of the slowly oncoming train, they drove on by while I stayed back with my car in "Park," motor turned off and windows cracked a bit to hear the slow chugging of the massive engine approaching with the unbridled inertia of dozens of train cars loaded down with coal, coal and more coal. �? �? �?  Yes, that was I sitting there all alone at the railroad crossing on Military Road in Sioux City, Iowa. The trainâ�?�?s headlight was somewhat dimmed in broad daylight as it crawled toward the railroad crossing. �? �? �?  That was I, dismayed at how others blew off the flashing lights. One by one, each motorist sped around me, flooring the gas pedal, speeding up and over the tracks until the train actually passed in front of my car. Then, the procession ceased and a line finally formed behind me. �? �? �?  When did the world change and flashing lights at train crossings became mere suggestions to approaching traffic? �? �? �?  When did the world change and now I am the only driver at crossings waiting for oncoming trains? �? �? �?  Come to think of it…when did the world change and "Yield" signs became "Speed up" signs and "Stop" signs are synonymous with green lights. �? �? �?  That 50-something lady you saw sitting in her car at the railroad crossing on Military Road in Sioux City, Iowa â�?�? that was I. When did the world change? �? �? �?  Yes, you know you are from Western New York state because it feels a whole lot like South Dakota. A resident of Southeast South Dakota for more than 30 years, Paula Damon is a popular columnist, keynote speaker and freelance writer. Her columns have won first place in Iowa Press Women and National Federation of Press Women competitions. Paulaâ�?�?s col-umns took second place statewide in the South Dakota Press Women 2007 and 2008 Communications Contests. To schedule prose readings by Paula Damon for your next event or fundraiser, e-mail paulada mon@iw.net. 2008�?© Paula Damon

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