True Railroad Stories: The Peanut Man


Hi Guys!

Some of you may remember that I previously posted a few of my Daddy’s tales from his 30-something year railroad career which spanned from the late 1960’s to the late 1990’s.

Naturally, he has a lot of amazing true stories to tell 🙂 

Just in case you’ve missed earlier posts, you can click on the links that I have included below. Trust me you will NOT be disappointed.

Today’s story is very inspiring and I am sure you’ll enjoy it!

Take it away Daddy!

LadyG 😘💋


Early on in my Railroad career, I worked as a flagman for a major railroad in the South.  At that time, I was assigned to a local freight train that operated daily between a large city and a smaller town in Georgia.

As the only black crew member in the late 1960’s, I was often exposed to racism–Many times to the point of depression.

However, the events in this story helped me to regain my faith and hope in mankind.

The person that I give most credit to restoring my faith was a white brakeman that I will call “Charlie.”

Although Charlie was not particularly fond of black people, we worked pretty well together.  He and I did most of the ground work when our train stopped in sidetracks to switch industries or pick or set-off railcars.

In one of the towns where we worked, we would often meet up with “The Peanut Man.”

The Peanut Man was an elderly black gentleman who rode around town on a three-wheel bike with a basket on the back filled with boiled and roasted peanuts.

Now, to the best of my recollection, The Peanut Man wore the exact same outfit every time we saw him–a worn and tattered black suit with a frayed white collared shirt.  A faded red bowtie, black fedora and horned rimmed glasses completed his ensemble.

Despite the ragged condition of his clothing, I often marveled at the way in which his deep dark complexion accentuated his smooth leathery skin.

Anyway, whenever Charlie and I stopped in The Peanut Man’s hometown, he’d start pedaling-feverishly- right toward us.  

Of course, we knew that he knew that we were his best customers.

 Why was that?  

Well, Charlie and I once asked The Peanut Man if he ever got tired of pedaling around town in order to sell his peanuts.  We wondered this because the town had several steep hills and, as I implied, he was well past his prime.

The Peanut man replied, “Yeah, but I need to make much money as I can.”

Though we didn’t say anything, Charlie and I both knew good and well that this man was too old to seek and find regular employment so selling peanuts was his only option for making a living.

With that in mind, whenever we saw him, we’d always buy as many bags as we could afford.

In fact, Charlie often bought much more than I did.

Here’s the amazing thing, I learned several years later that Charlie did not eat peanuts-nor did anyone else in his family.

From time to time I still wonder why he continued to buy all those peanuts.

Do you have any idea why?

-The Conductor

LOL!!!! Hey Da, I have my suspicions but I think I’ll leave it to my friends to try to hazard a guess in the comment section!


Other “True Railroad Stories” from Dad:

The Coal Toss

The Passengers

The Gathering of The Fireflies



77 thoughts on “True Railroad Stories: The Peanut Man

  1. I love the nostalgic feel to stories like this. I remember as a small child listening to my mother talking with her siblings and loving the stories they told, accompanied by shrieks of laughter if the story merited it. I loved their recollections of childhood days, their laughter, and the recalling of distant memories. I love to reminisce and this tugs me right back to that place. Ahhhh…. I don’t like the thought of your daddy suffering racism so that makes me sad, but the camaraderie he had with Charlie is lovely and makes me feel that though he suffered this aspect of the environment he was in, it was tempered by this strong friendship which lifts the spirit. Now, the big question: Charlie was simply an angel. He knew the peanut man was struggling financially and he wanted to reach out and help him. The peanut man and Charlie are a beautiful metaphor for how we ought to treat one another. Love thy neighbour as thyself: this is what this story illustrates for me. Thank you and your father for sharing this.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. So do I Lady G. But for now I have to be content with reading, 🙂 I think what you’re doing is wonderful. Getting your father to write about things that impacted him are a vital historical reference and a legacy for you and your children. I wish I had found out more about my mom’s life before she passed. So many things I want to ask her now, now that she is gone. But sometimes you just don’t think of it while parents are alive because you’re so busy with other things. Then when you realise it is too late. Well done G for being so proactive.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes! you got it! My blog is a memoir for my children. That was one of my primary goals.
          Daddy is still here so I can get some of his stories. As I mentioned, mama is gone and she was NOT an open book. There is a lot that I’ll never know about her –I shoulda asked more questions. But, that said, I tell all that I can remember about her before I start to forget.
          BTW, you can see pics of both of them in the photo slide show on my homepage.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. That’s good ! Very forwarded thinking of you – wish I’d thought of that years ago. My mother wasn’t an open book either and looking back I probably wouldn’t have got much out of her relating to “deep” things. You know what I’m saaaaaayinnnn? 🙂 Even as an adult she still saw me as a “child” in many respects and liked to keep that distance between us. We weren’t the friend that I would have liked us to be. In fact we had a really difficult relationship which I won’t bore you with here. Suffice to say, I try to make my daughter feel the “love” that I would have liked to have received. 😦 Boo – hoo. Hey you just told me in your post not to wallow too much in the past. LOL I’ll be looking at those pics! 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

        3. Happy Saturday Marie!
          I understand exactly what you’re talking about. My mom was similar in a lot of ways but I have to say that we were very close so I missed her quite a bit.
          So happy to hear that you were able to give your daughter everything that you missed. I say that because it often goes the other way ’round–and that’s not good.
          Enjoy the pics my friend.

          Liked by 2 people

        4. Thank you Lady G. I’ve had to get back to you on Sunday because I was havin’ such a haaaaappeeeeeeeeeee Saturday! lol So glad to hear that you had close relationship wit your mom: maybe this is the cue for a post about her? What do you think? 🙂
          Happy Sunday Lady!

          Liked by 1 person

        5. My Saturday was more delicious than a moist chocolate cake Lady G! Know what I’m saaayinnn? wink wink! I wish!! No, it was good though. Still continuing the birthday celebrations as one does. My daughter and I (I sound like the queen don’t I? lol) went to see two films. We only set out to see one, but ended up seeing two, as you do. lol Both were cr**p. We spent the rest of the evening discussing how bad the films were and how these cinema people must take the public for idiots showing stuff like that. In fact neither of us have seen a really good film for a looooong time. They all start out promising and somewhere in the middle the director must have some sort of seizure, because they rapidly disintegrate into nonsense and you end up thinking: “is this for real??”
          Anyway, thanks for the link which I’m really looking forward to reading. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        6. HI Marie:
          Pleasant dreams! Glad your Saturday was soooo delicious; hopefully your Sunday was too 🙂
          I am laughing out loud at your observation about a good movie idea gone bad! I know exactly what you mean about some of this mess that’s being released. I feel that way about movies AND music.
          But, the fact that you have your daughter to commiserate with is priceless. My youngest is 10 and we have lots of fun together. I pray that things stay that way as she moves into her teen and adult years 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        7. I don’t know what’s happening with me, I don’t appear to be reading back what I’ve written before I press the send button. I’m leaving letters of the ends of words, adding letters to the end of words: wit, forwarded – what’s going on? LOL Just so you know you’re not dealing with someone who can’t spell. LOL

          Liked by 2 people

  2. Lady G,

    I am surprised that you have got so many comments, but except for 1, nobody was answering your “Blog Post Question” . The Big Question Mark ?

    I wonder if some people really read or just chat !!

    Lady G, Here’s my Guess. I feel Charlie bought those peanuts from the Peanut Man and then quietly “Returned the Peanuts back to the Peanut Man” to sell it to him again.

    Please tell me if I am right.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Cattie 🙂
      I am very happy that you took time to read the post and comment 🙂
      It’s nice to meet you.
      By the way, I am not surprised at all by the number of comments that I have; since my comments are included in the count; Lady G can be quite chatty!
      Actually, my readers know that about me so they often indulge me with that 😉
      That said, you offered a very lovely and intriguing guess as to “what” Charlie did with the peanuts.
      But to be fair, I think that most of the readers did correctly answer the question which was “Why Charlie continued to buy all those peanuts?”
      Hope to see you back soon Cattie!
      Have a Happy Friday 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. What a great story — especially since it is true. It is wonderful that your are preserving and sharing your Dad’s stories w/ another generation. ❤ My guess is that Charly bought the peanuts to spare The Peanut Man any embarrassment at the thought of "charity".

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much Anna! That’s a great way to look at it.
      Clearly, “The Peanut Man” wanted to earn his way.
      I really appreciate your compliment and I can assure you that my Dad does too.
      Hope you visit again 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Hi Lady G and Lady G’s Dad- this post gave me faith. There are good people out there. I believe Charlie bought the peanuts because he wanted to help this man who was obviously in need. Thank you for the inspiration and the hope. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Aww, thanks Susan! Daddy has been submitting a story for post since the inception of this blog. I usually get one every couple of months or so.
      I can tell you right now that he reads and appreciates every comment. Thanks for checking him out 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Awww thank you very much 🙂
          Our parents are siblings with a gift for storytelling; they got it from our Grandparents and I’d like to think that we both got it from them 😉
          Thanks for stopping by my friend 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

  5. T. Wayne

    With all that is seemingly going on today that seems disturbing, gloomy and sad, stories like these help us remember that there is good in the world. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Hey Lady G
    Love your Daddy’s story, ‘The Peanut Man’.
    Maybe Charlie in the story had more heart than he cared to admit ? , hence the buying of packs of peanuts he wouldn’t eat ? !

    Great story though ! Will catch up on more soon ! Thanks for the post !
    Jonbear 😄

    Liked by 4 people

  7. rniks24l14

    well, your dad must be a very inspiring man. These small small things inspire us to grow. And recalling the tales of 1960’s is a treasure to take care of.
    keep posting!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Woebegone but Hopeful

    That’s a heart-warming story Gwin, restores faith in Human Nature. I always love reading your Dad’s tales. They should be collected in a books!
    (Now let me get some more catch-up)
    All the best.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Woebegone but Hopeful

          Hi Gwin…
          Skynet is me being a nerd…It was the computer system in the Terminator Films. When anything went wrong at my last office, I was swift to blame Skynet, claiming the films were based on fact!!)
          I’m doing OK thanks.
          How are you?

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Ah…LOL!!!
          All of the Terminator fans are probably laughing at me right now. I never watched it but I love the fact that you ‘highjacked’ one of the film’s references and made it your own 🙂 That’s hilarious 🙂
          By the way, I am well.–just had a cup of coffee 🙂 getting ready to start my day.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. Woebegone but Hopeful

          Hi Gwin.
          I tell ya Skynet is trying its best to sever all my links to my WP friends! It’s called in the slimey old Internet Explorer to help!
          I can’t visit anyone anyhow, anywhere! But I’m not beaten yet!
          I’ve taken on UK Civil Service computers and won!! (They don’t know who they are dealing with!!”)
          (pauses to take deep breath)…..
          Hope you’ve enjoyed all you cups of coffee today.
          All the best

          Liked by 1 person

        4. Woebegone but Hopeful

          Well I can’t do Skynet for mean old copyright reasons…..but oh booy have you given me an idea for later on in Patchwork!!
          Thanks Gwin

          Liked by 1 person

Lady G appreciates your comments ! 💋💋

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