Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Big black trains and cold, cold beer


There is only one road out of the industrial wasteland where I earn make my living and that road is crossed by three railway crossings. Recently it seems that someone at Norfolk Southern Railroad has scheduled the assembly of a large freight train at beer-thirty on Wednesday afternoons. A long string of tank and hopper cars eases across the road, the engine well out of sight beyond the bend, ever slowing until the echoing jolt of the couplers is heard and then the parade reverses. As the last tank car approaches the crossing, the snake of cars comes to a stop once again as the brakeman throws the switch. The string of cars reverse down a new track this time until, bang!bang,bang,bang... yet another string of cars are added to the parade. Now much longer than when it first backed across my path to cold beer and freedom, the train slowly starts it's long journey to places far away.
I've sat in my car watching this slow-motion pong game for thirty to forty-five minutes every Wednesday and it occurred to me that most songs about trains speak of gaining your freedom on a train to somewhere new or of losing someone who was leaving on a train. Not a song comes to mind that presents the train as an impediment to freedom. Perhaps I could use my time, as the tank cars lumber by, to write a sad train song about my temporary loss of freedom.
Yea, or I could just throw a cooler behind the seats on Wednesdays.

Stan Johnson & The Sonics - Big Black Train
Ruby Records - 1967

O.C. Holt - This Train
Sun Records (unreleased)

6 Comments:

Blogger Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

Cool story Ed, reminds me of a friend's longstanding complaint with the railroad because his job site is situated like yours. He cools down in his car with a roll your own beer as the train takes it its good old time getting out of the way.

February 07, 2006 11:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Ed you are lucky that it only happens on Wed. As for me the small town that I live in their is no way to leave the town unless you cross
two sets of tracks the trains are moving pretty good for the most part but it never fail when I am running late to get anywhere I get stopped at both
tracks so believe me I understand your pain

Joey

February 08, 2006 7:48 AM  
Anonymous nap said...

Speaking of gaining your freedom on a train to somewhere new; how about the Knights of the Road, the classic American hobo. I know you have something in that music bag of yours about their life on the rails and about theie music, signs and symbols.

February 08, 2006 9:33 AM  
Anonymous Toots said...

love it. when you get that cooler in there, just make sure I get in line behind you leaving out of here!

February 08, 2006 12:50 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Well folks, looks like I'm not alone waiting on a train.

Mr. BNH - Had to quit the self rolled kind decades ago.

Joey - I suppose we all have to deal with railroad crossings. It's the back and forth movement at slower than walking pace and that they schedule it right at quitting time that is so frustrating.

nap - Yes, I do have a good amount of hobo song and lore. I'll have to post some soon. Thanks.

toots - It's cold enough now I don't need a cooler. Maybe it's flask season!

February 08, 2006 4:15 PM  
Blogger Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

I'm from Oklahoma now too Ed.

February 08, 2006 8:15 PM  

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