Whitesburg KY

Act of kindness made impression on youngster

Human nature being what it is, we experience things as a child which never seem to be forgotten. These things may fade into the background but are never completely forgotten. Once they are remembered they can be as vivid as if they happened only a few days ago.

One incident happened when I was a little sprout about school age. A neighbor of ours who lived across the way did. The only way to get to their house was either a swinging bridge or across a railroad bridge and through a cut. One day as I was standing outside in the yard, I witnessed something which has never left me.

As I stood there, I saw the Blackey section gang walking up the track pushing their little tool cart, which was normally pulled by a motorized car. But on this day, there were no tools on the cart. It was hauling a gray coffin. I didn’t budge until it was out of sight. This was a prime example of good public relations. I don’t know who the section foreman was, but I figure it was either Andy Tipton or Hisey Campbell, who met a tragic death because he drank too much ice water too fast while on the job.

In today’s society, it’s dog eat dog and I seriously doubt if we’ll seen an act of kindness such as this again.

Another incident happened when I was about 12 years of age. The boy who lived right below us and was a few years older than me, came up to the fence which surrounded our house and yard. He asked me to go with him to see where a man had been killed by a train. I told him my stepmother would beat me half to death if I went outside that fence. He said we could be back before she missed me because it was only about a quarter of a mile.

He eventually persuaded me to go with him. I went out through the gate and shut it back real carefully so as to not make any noise. We walked up the road a ways a over to the railroad. Once we got on the railroad it was only a short piece to where the man had been killed.

I will never forget the sight I saw. There was blood everywhere on one side of the track. I just stood there and stared because I had never seen so much blood in one place.

As I stood there too numb to move, the boy reached down under the edge of the rail and picked up a piece of bone with flesh on one side. It was a flat piece of bone such as would come from a shoulder or hip. He tossed it over into the weeds and told me to not tell anyone about it, and up until now I had never mentioned it. I have no idea why he didn’t want me to tell anyone about that piece of human remains.

We went back the way we had come and there was my stepmom waiting for me. By the time she got done with me, I felt like I had been the one run over by that train. Needless to say, I considered my options real carefully before leaving the yard after that.

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