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Old 11-10-2010, 01:41 AM   #1
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''you are filthy''


After the war there were still a ton of steam engines on the Southern Railroad lines. Our house was about half a mile from the main line for the Southern Railroad. Sometimes after supper dad would look at his watch and say that the ''Flyer'' was suppose to come by in about 45 minutes and we could all walk down to the tracks and ''watch her go by''. Understand that we had no television in 46/47 and the ''Flyer'' going by was a big event. Mom would cover the supper food with a cheese cloth and we would all amble out the driveway and start walking down toward the tracks. Mind you that this always happened in warm weather and back then everyone would sit on the front porch after supper and listen to ''Amos and Andy'' on the kitchen radio. You could walk the entire neighborhood in the summer time evenings and never miss any part of the ''Amos and Andy'' radio show. Every house we would pass Dad would say .

''Yall come on and lets go watch the Flyer go by'' and usually by the time we would get down to the ''railroad cut'' there would be as many as 25 people including wives, kids, husbands and just friends. The ''railroad cut'' was where they had to dig out so the tracks would be level and we could stand on a embankment about 20 feet high and watch the ''flyer'' go by.

When we would get to the ''cut'' the group would ''stratify''. All the men would gather together smokin and spittin. All the ladies would get in a huddle with aprons still on from the cooking of supper and they would talk about recopies and who had accidentally ''got caught''.... (I always wonder what ''got caught'' meant when I was a kid) ........Anyhow...... Us kids would get together and throw rocks at the insulators on the telegraph poles along side the tracks.
''You kids stay away from that ''railroad cut'' cause if you fall you are going to break a leg or kill yourself''
After about an hour we would hear the lonesome whistle of a steam engine blowing the Washington Street crossing and everyone turned their attention to the train. You must remember that back then each and every train whistle was hand made, no two alike, and no two with the same voice. Yep, people would bet big money (sometimes as much as a quarter) on which ''whistle'' they could hear and tell you exactly which engine was pulling the train.
''Thats old number 7 and I would swear by it''......
''Wrong, you are deaf from the war, that is 23 and I bet a dime on it right now''......
''You are both wrong. Number 7 is in the shop for overhaul in Spencer and 23 aint got the guts to pull 'grape vine hill'... that whistle you are hearing is on 17''
On and on with a cloud of ciggie smoke hanging over the crowd of men. Eventually the train would come by doing probably 25 MPH. She ''jingled, roared and rattled and she shook the ground when she passed''. She was the ''Crecent Flyer'' from Atlanta to Washington DC. She was Jet black with white ''drivers'' on the engine and it would give you a chill up your spine when the engineer would wave at us and hit the whistle for a long blast and then two shorts. By pulling the whistle rope carefully they could make the steam whistle 'sing'..........
We would count the cars as the train passed......... four mail cars,,,,,,,,,,,, ten to fifteen passenger cars with people smokin cigars and talking. Two dining cars with folks sitting at the tables eating all kinds of special stuff like Smoked Salmon and Steaks and stuff like that with black waiters whisking along the isles serving food. Usually several ''Pullman Cars'' where you could rent a bed and be rocked to sleep by the wheels. The ''upper birth'' were cheaper than a lower.
Then there was the ''crew car'' for the people that worked for the railroad and then the red caboose.......
The entire passing may have taken two minutes at most but it was the ''event of the day''. Bets were paid off as to who got the ''whistle'' right and it wasnt the money as such, it was the braging rights for being ''Right''.......
''We gotta get back to the house and wash dishes and get supper up and you, young man, are going to take an ''all over bath'' tonight because you are filthy.'' Yep, FILTHY. That meant the number 3 washtub in the back room with hot water. (remember, we didnt have ''running water'' back then.)

Times were simpler back then. You had ''families''. Husbands love their wives and kids and all the men ''worked''. It was a shame and a disgrace to be on welfair and if a young girl got in a ''family way'' without a ring and a husband it was a shame on the family that folks only ''whispered about'' with their hand over their mouth. Back then the word ''pregnant''was never said out loud, it was whispered even if they had a husband. Back then you left the keys to the car in the ignition switch cause you were afraid you might lose them, you left your house unlocked and the windows open for ventilation in the summer and in case of fire, you could get out easy. Back then a mans word was his ''bond'' and a handshake was better than a contract. Back then everyone had ''RESPECT'' ... Respect for themselves, their elders, and their ''betters'' and no one but no one questioned that......
So it was in the life of a seven year old, barefoot boy, sitting on the rail road cut watching the Crescent Flyer whizz by at 25 miles per hour and dreaming that someday he might just ride that train to all kinds of adventures.........

Nuff said for now I guess
God bless our troops.....

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Old 11-10-2010, 04:45 AM   #2
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If you hear an extra amount of HORN blowing on the Lenoir bridge on Veterans Day-I alerted my Ruritan friends about your being "there and why".
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Old 11-10-2010, 08:14 AM   #3
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Great writing! I enjoyed it!

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Old 11-12-2010, 12:37 AM   #4
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Heh, all this talk about the trains got me thinking about the ole number 6:

YouTube - Ringing the Bell on the Old Number 6
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Old 11-26-2010, 06:04 AM   #5
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CJ, you conjure up memories of things I haven't thought of for years.

And the next time you travel past my neck of the woods without stoppin' by, I'm gonna yank out your tire stem.
Bob (Squidly Down Under) & Peg - 2013 Ford Focus pushing a 2011 Phoenix Cruiser 2552S
"In God we trust" to preserve our country and bring our Troops safely home.
Carry on, regardless..................
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Old 11-26-2010, 08:32 AM   #6
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Young feller, you sure know how to conjure up some old memories. I missed this the first time around.

You need to publish your short, even embellished, stories.
Wayne MSGT USMC (Ret) & Earlene (CinCHouse)
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Old 11-26-2010, 10:03 AM   #7
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Thanks for the great story. It reminds me of my childhood days around the tracks of the K&ITRR (Kentucky & Indiana Terminal RR) in Louisville. The Southern was part owner of the K&I back then. I later worked for the K&I as a block operator. The CI&L (Chicago, Indianapolis and Louisville, known as the Monon Route) and the B&O were also owners of the K&I back then. When I went to work for the K&I in 1959 there were only two passenger trains left that ran on the K&I. The Monon's Thoroughbred and the B&O (I don't remember the B&O train's name). The Southern had already dropped theirs. By the time I left the RR in 1969 there were no more passenger trains running on the K&I. I remember when the Thoroughbred made it's last run. Old men had tears in their eyes as it pulled out of the New Albany, IN Station.
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Old 11-26-2010, 10:53 AM   #8
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Warm Cozy Morning

My husband and I enjoyed your story this morning....and the pictures posted by others.
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Old 11-26-2010, 12:22 PM   #9
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This is from my DW:

"....."Raconteur" perfectly defines Seajay: a person who is skilled in relating stories and anecdotes. ...... Then you can tell him that he needs to make the most of his musings and make a profit of it."

I have a few other names for you, but I'll not post them here. When we meet.

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