Melodic Memories

I was just inspired to repost this as a result of a conversation with my cousin Ron. Maybe it’s just a yearning for my childhood days–when life was carefree. I hope you enjoy!

Seek The Best Blog

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I remember telling my cousin Ron about several memories that I had which seemed to lack any clear context–yet they continued to float around in my mind.

He chuckled and said, “I have those too, I call them ‘cryptic memories’.”

And so…

This post contains several ‘cryptic memories’ that may or may not have happened on the same day–though I presented them as if they did.

And, since I’m a music lover, each memory (event) is closely tied to a song from my early childhood years.

I hope you enjoy this quick exercise in dreamy quasi-stream of consciousness.

 🙂 🙂 🙂

Bus driver, please look for me

‘Cause I couldn’t bear to see what I might see

I’m really still in prison and my love, she holds the key

A simple yellow ribbon’s what I need to set me free

I wrote and told her please…

Tie a yellow ribbon ’round the old oak tree…”

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True Railroad Stories: A Familiar Smile

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A sequel to“The Coal Toss.”

Having been retired for some years, and having lost my beautiful wife, I decided to take a road trip to some of the towns I had been to while working on the railroad.

It was on one of these trips that it happened…

I had been driving along the back roads of Georgia for several hours when I decided to stop at the closest store to take a break.

While browsing the snack display, I noticed a young lady standing on the same aisle, not for away.

She appeared to be following me.

I was pretty sure that I didn’t know her, but I couldn’t help noticing her beautiful smile.

A few minutes had passed, and I was just about to look away, when she suddenly turned toward a shadowy figure standing further down the aisle and shouted, “Mama!”

At that point, the person slowly walked toward us.

As the individual approached, I could see that she was an elderly lady who had a trace of the same smile as the younger lady.

Without saying a word, the older lady, walked right up to me, grabbed my hand and began gently squeezing it.

The younger lady then reached up and gave me a tight hug.

Needless to say, I was totally confused, but I didn’t want to offend them so I just smiled.

At that point, they turned and disappeared back down the aisle.

Still trying to figure out what had happened, I went ahead and walked to the counter, paid for my snack, got in my car and drove off.

By the time I got a few miles down the road, it dawned on me where I had seen the young lady’s familiar smile.

She was the little toddler that would come to edge of the railroad track where I would toss bags of coal off the caboose for their family in the winter time.

That had been more than 20 years ago!

Before I knew it, I had slowed down to look for a place to turn around so that I could go back.

I had so many questions I wanted to ask.

But, for some reason, I can’t explain why, I kept going.

If it were you, would you have gone back?

-The Conductor

A Family Conversation: Ron Brown and LadyG Discuss the Cool Uncle’s Story

 

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Cool Uncle aka Daddy (Sembach Airbase 1965)

“A Family Conversation” is a storytelling audio series that features weekly discussions between blogging cousins LadyG and Ron Brown on current events and featured blog posts.

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“My uncle was as cool as a ’65 Thunderbird!”

-Ron Brown

Yep, that’s precisely how Ron describes my Daddy’s vibe from his younger days as a MP in the United States Air Force.

Folks said he was as cool as a cucumber…

A tall drink of water…

A pretty redbone…

Clearly, LadyG loves a good cliché

LOL!

All that aside, Ron’s cool uncle tells some awesome tales from his post-military days working on the railroad in the late 1960’s through the late 1990’s.

And so…

We invite you to join us in today’s sessions as we talk about Ron’s cool uncle (my Dad) RailroadConductor67’s post, “Santa’s Helper.”

As usual, Ron and I often found ourselves sidetracked!

Our conversation quickly galloped from Lysol to Clorox to wild game to storytelling where it crashed, head on, into Rickie Lee Jones.

But it gets better considering the fact that Rickie Lee wasn’t supposed to be a part of the dialogue.

AT.

ALL!

(Warning, a shift from first to third person is coming up so that I may distance myself from “LadyG”)

Yeah, so, you see, it all started when LadyG went on this tangent about Tommy Lee Jones, whom she thought was named Rickie Lee Jones.

Just so you know, Rickie, the female singer, should NEVER be confused with Tommy, the male actor.

They aren’t even kinda the same.

But of course, LadyG cannot be bothered with “facts.”

And, if you stick around to listen to the part 2 audio in this post, you will hear this for yourself.

Anyway…

Remember, you can find my Daddy, Ron’s cool uncle, here under category:  “True Railroad Stories”

You can also find Ron Brown under category “Ron’s Time Tunnel” and at his blog “Time Tunnel” 

Audio does includes some adult language

Part 1 Run time: 30 minutes

Part 2 Run time: 25 minutes

 

True Railroad Stories: Santa’s Helper

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***NOT A MISTAKE***

The return of True Railroad Stories!  

True Railroad stories are written by my father, who tells funny, thought-provoking, and heartwarming stories about his time as a Railroad Conductor in Georgia from the 1960’s through the 1990’s.  

For train enthusiasts, Daddy was a freight train conductor.

But, before we go on, I just wanted to invite you to check out a couple of his previously posted stories, which include topics like fireflies and coal

LOL!!

If you like those, you can search for more of his stories under the category titled “True Railroad Stories” (Go to the right panel, scroll down )

Anyway… 

Today, it’s Christmas in April on Easter Sunday!  

YAAASSS!

Strange?  

Not for Daddy, best believe he has his reasons 😉

Chile, that’s just how we do it on Seek The Best Blog!

Take it away Daddy!

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It was early one cold and windy morning in December when we saw it beside the track.

It was the biggest deer with the largest antlers any of us had ever seen–and working on the railroad, we had seen many.

Even though several cars had passed within a few feet of him, the deer made no attempt to move.

It was common for wild animals to cross the tracks in front of moving trains when they were blinded by the engine headlight, so we determined that he must have been injured by one of the trains that sped through during the night before.

After a brief conversation amongst ourselves as to what to do, we decided to stop the train and go back to further investigate.

So we did.

As we walked back from the engine, we approached the deer, who was sitting in a position like a dog would take while begging for scraps at the dinner table.

It was obvious he had injuries to his hind legs.

Someone commented on how large he was.

I am over 6 feet tall, and his antlers stretched well over my head!

After discussing what to do, one of the crew members said,  “We can’t leave him like that…the humane thing to do is to finish him off …a horrible thing to do, but the right thing.”

So the one of us, who had the coldest heart, suggested striking him on the head with a metal tipped air hose from the caboose.

I’m sorry to report that this harsh suggestion was implemented.

Afterward, we loaded the “lifeless” deer on back of the caboose.

We then proceeded to a small town not far away.

When we stopped at the town depot, we decided to call the ranger station and report the incident.

After hearing the story, they elected to send a pick-up truck to the depot to recover the deer and maybe give the meat to a needy family.

Shortly, one of the rangers drove up and we all loaded the deer in the back of the truck.

As the truck was leaving, someone shouted, “Look at that!”

To our surprise, the deer was standing up on all four legs!

And, before we knew it, he leaped from the truck across one lane and a side walk to the grass where he disappeared into the woods!

To us, he seemed to be flying!

The distance was so great, it was almost as if he was big and strong enough to pull a sleigh from roof top to roof top!

And I’m convinced that he did!

-The Railroad Conductor

 

Lord have mercy!  Looks like Daddy’nem done ran up on one of Santa’s helpers!

I’m still pissed off at the cold hearted crew member who tried to “finish the job!”

BUT…

In my mind, I believe that beautiful woodland creature is still very much alive, well, and happily awaiting his next trip with dear St. Nick….in about 8 months time. LOL!!!

Happy Easter!

LadyG loves you!

😘💋💋

 

 

 

True Railroad Stories: The Peanut Man

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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

 

 

True Railroad Stories: The Gathering of the Fireflies

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These are true stories about my father’s experiences working on the Railroad for 31 years. I hope that you enjoy them as much as I do.

Lady G 😘💋

__________

There is a creek running under the railroad track in a rural section of the mainline between two major cities in Georgia.

My train crossed the bridge over this creek on trips to and from these cities–usually in the dark of night.

At a certain time of year, fireflies would gather, in numbers too many to count, from the surface of the creek, up to, and above the trees lining either side of the creek’s banks.  These wondrous creatures were so closely compacted that they illuminated the entire area in a way that resembled a spectacular show of lights.

On nights, during the time of year for the fireflies, our crew would, on approaching the bridge, slow the train down and dim the engine headlights in order to observe this spectacular scene.  We were well aware that we were among only a few who would ever be lucky enough to witness this beautiful and natural phenomenon.  

Over the years, I would fondly recall and ponder the meaning of this experience.

I concluded that every firefly represents the birth of a new soul that is beginning life on earth.

Usually, that soul arrives in our midst, finds a mate, lives its life here on Earth and then departs.

Southern folklore has it that each soul that once resided on earth is represented by a star in the heavens. I believe that a flickering star is sending a heavenly signal to its earthly mate about its new location.

In essence, it is an invitation for both of them to reunite and spend eternity together.

Admittedly, I can’t be sure that my belief is true; but, it definitely seems likely because the firefly show took place at Spirit Creek.

-The Conductor

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I don’t know about y’all but I believe that my Daddy could be right!  

At least I’d like to think so anyway.

 

 

True Railroad Stories: The Passengers

The Passengers

Back by popular demand 🙂  

Here is another one of my Daddy’s stories from his years working on the Railroad.  

Enjoy!

-Lady G.

 

In my 31 year career as a mainline conductor on freight trains operating between major cities in the South, I have so many memories and stories to tell.  Some warm and funny; some cold and tragic.

Recently, I decided to relate a few of these stories to my daughter.

For years, these ‘feel good’ stories have been kept between me and my beautiful wife who God called back to heaven a few years back.

Today’s story is totally true and it occurred late one evening after I stopped at a small rural yard to drop off several cars from my train.  Since this was the last stop before our final destination I knew that my wife and two children would be waiting to pick me up and I looked forward to sitting down for a good hot meal and playing with my kids before they went to bed.

Anyway, as I was saying, after stopping the train, I got down and began walking back to separate the cars that I was to leave from the cars that would continue on to our destination.  After strolling a short distance, I noticed what appeared to be two figures unsuccessfully attempting to climb into one of our train’s empty boxcars.

As I came closer I could see that it was a young teenager and a very elderly man–both wearing worn and dirty clothes.

I immediately identified myself and began engaging them in a short chat about what they were trying to accomplish.  To my surprise, they admitted they had planned to ride the train to South Georgia to pick peaches. I advised them that the boxcar that they were trying to enter would NOT be continuing on with the train.  I went on to suggest that they follow me so that I could lead them to a car that they could ride in order to get to our destination; which they did.

After we reached the car that I have chosen, the older man attempted to enter first but he was so weak that both the teenager and I had to lift him through the door.  As the two of us lifted the older man, the younger man admitted that neither of them had eaten in days and they were hoping to get to a food shelter.

Having had some experience with hobos, I knew that the food shelter would be closed before we could reach our destination.  At this point, I began to worry about their survival.

As a young husband and father,  I lived on a tight budget.  My first priority was to make sure that my wife and kids had the things they needed.  With that being the case,  I had very little money to spare and on this particular day, I only had three dollars in my pocket. However, I knew that these guys were in a very desperate situation so I decided to give them the money.

Honestly, I really didn’t give it a second thought since I already had lunch and it would not be much longer before I would be going home to enjoy a good meal with my wife and kids.

By the way, I did tell the two men that I was NOT authorized to permit them to ride on the train so I urged them to stay out of sight 😉

After I left these ‘passengers’ huddled in the corner of the boxcar, I felt a slight bounce in my step and a little smile on my face as I went about working– knowing that they would not be stranded and hungry in a cold dark yard that night.

-The Conductor

 

YAAASSSS!  Daddy DID that!  LOL ❤  

 

 

True Railroad Stories: The Coal Toss

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Greetings Readers!

If you read my ‘about’ page you may remember me mentioning that my father would be making contributions to my blog.

Today, he decided to share a ‘feel good’ story from his time as a conductor on the railroad.  It is important to note that this is a true story; and frankly, it is my favorite.

Enjoy!

– Gwin

The Coal Toss

     Many years ago, I was a young railroad conductor who was in charge of a train running between two major cities in the South. At that time, I had a beautiful wife and together we had two healthy children.  I felt very fortunate to be able to provide a comfortable living for myself and my family.
     Anyway, I had been working the same train route for several years so I was very familiar with the surrounding areas.  Oftentimes, I would get to know the people who lived and worked in the smaller towns along the way.  But of all of those places, one place sticks out in my mind for sentimental reasons.  Basically,  it was a tiny ragged shack where a mother and several small children lived.  I remember how the children, whose clothes were always torn and tattered, would run outside and wave to me and my crew whenever we passed by.
     When winter came, I would think about this poor mother with her children.  I thought about how cold they must have been at night.  I also thought about how warm my own children were in my home.  Just as I had completed that last thought, it suddenly occurred to me that there was something that I could do to help.
     The very next day, while gathering supplies for work, I packed an extra bag of coal and tossed it to the family when we passed by.  I knew that the mother could use the extra coal for her potbelly stove to help heat the home and keep her children warm.
     I continued tossing coal to those children for quite some time. I’ll admit that tears welled up in my eyes every time I did it.  I am sure that the railroad wouldn’t have been thrilled to know what I was doing but I felt good about doing it anyway.
     More than 40 years have passed and to this day I often think about that family and I wonder if they remember the conductor who tossed the coal.