Tuesday, July 31, 2007

With My Grandfather as the Witness.... Part 0001

[Due to the graphic nature of this post I suggest parental guidance for those under seventeen...]

With My Grandfather as the Witness.... Part 0001


When I was of appropriate age, my Grandfather often told me stories of things he had witnessed over the course of his life. Sometime in the 30s, when my Grandfather was thirteen or fourteen, he witnessed an old hobo get hit by a train near his home. He had been walking home with a young cousin when they saw it happen.

He had noticed the hobo wandering about before in the neighborhood - and though disheveled and homeless, the old man seemed to have a lust for life. My Grandfather thought it strange when the old man did not move away from the approaching train. Perhaps he couldn't hear it. He couldn't hear my Grandfather either, as he tried to gain the old man's attention in vain. Running towards him, yelling for him to look out, as fast as he could.

But it was too late and the old man was struck down by the locomotive - his body severed and broken and bloodied. My Grandfather could do nothing but watch it all happen.

He told me this to help me remember to always look both ways when crossing railroad tracks. And to be very cautious if I were to walk up or down railroad tracks. He explained to me what it looked like to be hit by a train and it wasn't pretty. The high pitched whine of metal on metal, sparks flying vainly trying to stop the heavy fist of locomotive as it made short work of whatever laid in its path. Flesh and bone were no match for metal and speed and weight - barreling down on the victim with the momentum of the last fifty counties behind it.

Bone separated from bone like crepe paper. Skulls cracked and backs broken and limbs severed. Blood spilled...

Gruesome reality of locomotive death.


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