Home Opinion Mine Creek Revelations by Louie Graves: Choo-Choo Event

Mine Creek Revelations by Louie Graves: Choo-Choo Event


AN EVENT I’m not going to miss.

In November, the world’s only operational ‘Big Boy’ steam locomotive will make a tour through 12 states as part of the Union Pacific Railroad’s observance of something called the 150th Anniversary Transcontinental Railroad Tour.

The immense engine will pass near our area on Tuesday, Nov. 12.

Union Pacific has spent two years and lotsa dollars to restore Big Boy No. 4014.

If you have never seen a steam locomotive, try not to miss this rare opportunity.

Folks in our area can see it on Union Pacific tracks at Atlanta, Texas; and in Texarkana, Hope and Prescott, Arkansas. We will print the schedule later.

According to an article in Sunday’s issue of the ‘Texarkana Gazette,’ the engine will make brief stops at Atlanta, Texarkana and Hope. It might not stop at Prescott, and in that event, the crew will possibly duck down behind the iron sides of the cabin but reach up to wave enthusiastically as they choo-choo safely through town.

I can remember as a boy being taken down to Texarkana’s Union Station to watch the trains arrive and depart. There was a fabulous walkway over the train tracks, and you could get directly over the engines. There was lots of activity. ‘Redcaps’ would help travelers with their luggage. Train boilers hissed and spit billowing clouds of steam.

My grandmother’s house was way out on Walnut Street just barely on the Texas side.

My aunt would let me go out with her on warm afternoons to sit on a quilt under a huge oak tree. She liked to read romance novels there. She made me be quiet and not wiggle.

I can remember hearing the trains even that far from the station. I could clearly hear the lonesome whistle of the steam locomotives and the two-tone horns blaring of the diesel engines.

From the Texarkana newspaper article: ‘Big Boy No. 4014’ is longer than two city buses and is strong enough to pull 16 Statue of Liberty statues over a mountain. Again, according to the article, the engine alone weighs more than a fully loaded Boeing 747 passenger aircraft.

Of all the Big Boys built in the heyday of steam engines, only eight remain and only one is working. This one.

This transcontinental anniversary tour will start out in Los Angeles, California, and loop through towns in Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, and back to LA in that order.

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ANIMAL CRACKERS. Several times lately I’ve written about the absence of songbirds that greet dawn’s early light when I’m on my usual neighborhood walk. About a week ago there was a news article that said possibly 30% of the bird population in the U.S. and Canada was gone.

Scary, if true. We are doing some bad stuff to our environment, and our grandchildren will pay that price. President Trump should NOT relax air and water quality standards.

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I WOULD HAVE waved back at you but I didn’t want to take a chance of making the officer mad.

Sunday afternoon, about half of south Howard County drove past me between Fulton and Saratoga where an Arkansas State Police trooper had me pulled over. He righteously caught me doing 68 in a 45 mph zone. I thought it was a 55 mph zone, but it doesn’t matter because I was still going above the speed limit.

I don’t get a lot of speeding tickets and I admit that sometimes I don’t pay enough attention to the speedometer. I think the last ticket I got was from the late ASP Trooper Tom Morrow maybe sometime in the late 1970s or early ‘80s. I hasten to add that it wasn’t the last time I was driving merrily along over the speed limit, it was just the last time I got caught.

Now, if the City of Nashville would just pay as much attention to those exasperating J-Turn violations …..

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THE INCREDIBLE and Mostly Unbelievable Adventures of my distant kin, Uncle Parry Normal: Uncle Parry says that anyone who buys a late model Dodge Charger should be criminally charged with impersonating a law enforcement officer.

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A FELLOW WALKER stopped by to tell me he knew exactly what I was writing about when I mentioned ‘currents’ of autumn-cool air in the midst of warm lake of summer temperatures. We agreed that the current was like the invisible movement of water within an ocean or big lake.

In the same way, I also walk through currents of air informing me of where someone is cooking bacon or where a smoker lives.

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WORD GAMES. Another set of twins: Faithful and True. They mean more to Scrapper fans.

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HE SAID: “Peace is the beauty of life. It is sunshine. It is the smile of a child, the love of a mother, the joy of a father, the togetherness of a family. It is the advancement of man, the victory of a just cause, the triumph of truth.” Menachem Begin, Prime Minister of Israel, June 1977-Oct. 1983

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SHE SAID: “Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.” Ashley Smith, American author and speaker 

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