Monday, December 7, 2009
My Great-Grandfather was a railroad man, he was the Night General Dispatcher for the L&N Railroad in Etowah, Tennessee. There were only a couple of trains a week that went through Etowah back then, and if you missed one, you were just out of luck. Because of that, all the men in my family feel compelled to arrive at any station, any airport, any terminal at all at least four hours early. We always bring plenty to read.
When my Grandfather and his sister were still very young, in 1916 or thereabouts, the family lived for a while in a dismantled Pullman sleeper that had been shunted off to a side rail at the Etowah depot. They slept in the berths along the center aisle, one up one down. One Saturday afternoon, while the family was out walking around the McMinn County countryside, a coal train unexpectly rolled in through the Etowah station and collided with the sleeper car. The coal train's engineer was killed outright, as my Great-Grandfather's family surely would have been, the sleeper car was completely destroyed. Anyway, that's the story, but you never know. My Grandfather was an inveterate liar.