| May/June 1959

260 Poe Street, Fort Myers, Florida

Dear Editor,

Though only 61 I am already living in the past. (At least the best time of my life was when steam was king). They say one cannot teach an old dog new tricks and trying to switch an old-timers sense of smell from hot valve oil and steam to Diesel fumes is harder. The passing of the steam locomotive left the railroads completely bare of romance.

1 sat along beside the railroad
To watch the evening shadows fall,
And when I dozed in peaceful slumber
I heard a familiar whistle call.
It was the whistle of my father
Blowing the call of the whippoorwill
I saw his face framed in the window
Of a Mogul fighting over the hill.
I tried to tell myself 'I am dreaming'
I tried to rouse my sleeping mind
Dad's long buried on a hill-side and
There's not a Mogul on the line.
Still, though the road has long been Diesel
A steamer is coming over the hill
Throwing black smoke to the Heavens
While Dad is reaching for the 'Quill'.
Then once more over the sleeping valley
I hear that lonesome whistle wail
Calling to the long-dead conductor
Who used to ride the 'Mid-night Mail'.
Whistling through some forgotten station
In answer to a Phantom's wave
I knew then that Dad and his old crew
Were on a run out-side their graves.
With side-rods flashing in the moonlight
Dark tender rocking to and fro
The Mogul roared on through the night
The ghost of a train of long ago.
And just before the dream was ended
When marker lights were pale and dim
I heard the whistle call for the Pearly Gates
And answer St. Peter's 'Come On In'.

It is my opinion that the eight-wheeler and Mogul will never be replaced as a machine of romance and fame.


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