When the arc of his watch hands reached the top of the hour Sam pushed the throttle forward.
Engine 138 thundered out of Blossburg station like an iron dragon breathing smoke and steam - whistle shrilling over the Tioga valley.
Powered by coal the train carried coal to the waiting city of Elmira where Sam would press his mother's hand - perhaps for the final time.
The wheels churning iron on iron across Pennsylvania farmlands, turned like other wheels before moving settlers west to break its ready earth - wheels beneath his grandfather's oxcart turning toward Lycoming's verdant hills.
New wheels now carried America to urban landscapes drawing us like electro-magnets to streetlamps - factories - dry good stores - new crops for a modern age.
Elmira’s silhouette expanded on the horizon. and Sam pulled the train in on time - brakes screeching through billowing steam.
His wife, Jenny and his sister's Sam came in a horseless carriage with Zoe, Marie and Edward, children now grown at their sides.
They all gathered by Hannah's bed now approaching her final hours soft voices and fragile smiles cradled the truth beyond all telling:
Time, ever advancing like the hands of a fine old watch, holds us all in its circling sway