Since y'all couldn't join us that day, how about the next best thing... pictures? With, um , just a few words thrown in by me, of course...
The time will come when people will travel in stages moved by steam engine from one city to another, almost as fast as birds can fly, fifteen or twenty miles per hour... [Oliver Evans, 1800] I wonder what this pioneer of steam engines would think about today's much-faster-than-a-bird speeds of travel.
There were also a number of steam-powered tractors there. Those things are HUGE!
This is an overview of one of the kitchens on a military train used from approximately the twenties until the forties.
What was that old saying from the Civil War? Something about the Army traveling on its stomach...
And the other one... something about military food being the real spoils of war...?
In case you're wondering what it means to hump in railroad lingo, that's when an engine pushes a car, or block of cars, up a man-made hill... which is called a hump... so at the top, gravity can take over. The car(s) then go down the other side of the hill, and are easily shunted to the proper track and/or resting place.
Although that hump sign doesn't have anything to do with what consenting adults can do aboard a train, there have been a number of laws over the years aimed at regulating human behavior while riding the rails. For example, in Wisconsin, it was once illegal for people to kiss on a train, and in Seattle, Washington, if a woman dared to sit on a man's lap without placing a pillow between them, she would automatically face six months in the slammer. A bit harsh, don't you think? But this was even worse: in Alabama, putting salt on a train track was once punishable by death! Rhode Island was a bit more merciful; throwing pickle juice at a trolley was only a misdemeanor. In Chicago, Illinois, a law prohibited eating in a place that was on fire, but after considerable discussion, an amendment was added to that law in 1912, making it permissible to eat while in a steam train's dining car. Ready for my favorite? In Texas, an old law dictated that when two trains met at a railroad crossing, each had to come to a full stop, and neither could proceed until the other one had gone. (Huh?)
Two somewhat inebriated fellas were having a very difficult time walking uphill on a railroad track.
Between huffs and puffs, the first one said, "This is the longest staircase I've ever seen."
The other replied, "The stairs aren't too bad, but I really hate these low banisters!"
But as I gazed into these compartments with my imagination in overdrive, I couldn't help but remember a story I read some years back:
Mr. Pullman received a letter of complaint from a train passenger regarding a horrific infestation of bed bugs. In return, the passenger received a very nice letter of apology, thanking the man for letting them know about it, and assuring him that the matter would be taken care of immediately. Unfortunately, also in the envelope with that letter of apology was a hand-written note from Pullman to his secretary, advising her to send this SOB the bed bug letter.
Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there. [Will Rogers]
Okay, I don't know if this blog post is on the right track or not, but I'm not gonna just sit here. Time to go. That's right.
This is... THE END.
Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.