Old Hogheads {Engineers to you Flatlanders}

I was always fascinated by the old Engineers when I was a young brakeman on the Railroad. There were some real characters. One in particular was very hard of hearing I’m the same way now. As I think about it I don’t know if he was that hard of hearing because if you dropped a 50 cent piece on the floor he sure as hell could hear that. Maybe just tired of talking to young brakemen, a real possibility. He was also very negative in all that you could bring up to talk about. One day we got on the train in Glasgow heading West. The wind was really howling, so just for something to say I remarked boy the old wind is in our face today. Old Al looked at me and stated “Kid I’ve worked on the Railroad 40 years and the wind has been in my face all that time.” That was the end of the conversation.

Another old Engineer also made a practice of not talking to the brakeman. This would have been bad enough going to Glasgow which was 152.7 miles from Havre, but this old ornery Engineer was from Havre to Whitefish which is 255.1 miles of noise and without talking for 10 to 12 hours is a very long day or night.

I was determined after enduring his silent treatment for half a trip to strike up a conversation if it killed me. I stood next to him near the console where he ran the engine and talked non stop for 4 to 5 hours straight. He only nodded and grunted occasionally. Finally he said “Damn Kid you are persistent ain’t you.”

We got along fine after that. I’m sure he was afraid of another marathon talk session. My children will tell you about marathon talk sessions, I’m sure they will testify they have endured many of them. Some of them moved very far away for that very reason I’m sure..

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