Whitesburg KY
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Boys’ shenanigan ends in patch of saw vines




There is an old saying which I am sure many, if not all, you readers have heard, “Boys will be boys.” But sometimes being a boy can get one into a whole peck of trouble. Sometimes youngsters get all engrossed in their mischievous behavior and do things which aren’t in their best interest, at least as far as safety is concerned.

Sometimes, some of their shenanigans are downright dangerous to their health. Such was the case one time with me and a friend.

There was a traffic signal light at the upper end of Blackey on the Whitesburg line of the railroad. If it was red, a train had to stop.

We would walk up the track and wait for a train to come along. When the train stopped, we would climb aboard and hitch us a ride. When we got down to a certain spot, we would bail out of our perch on the river side of the tracks.

The train usually hadn’t picked up very much speed by the time we jump off, but one evening our train didn’t take off again until it was dark. We had done this enough to know where to bail off, even in the dark. At least, that is what we thought. So we decided to stick with our routine in spite of the darkness.

As the train began to pick up speed, we looked frantically for our spot to jump off, but in the darkness we couldn’t tell where to bail off. We finally decided if we didn’t get off, we may end up in Hazard or some other foreign country. Since we had never been very far from our place of birth, Hazard had just as well been a foreign country. So we bailed off, hoping we wouldn’t crash into a telephone pole.

Looking back, I think maybe a telephone pole would have been easier on us. We had bailed off smack dab in the middle of a patch of saw vines.

I don’t know the proper name of those vines, but I think the word saw is sufficient in describing them. They leave an ugly scratch mark on the skin. Anyway, by the time we came to a stop, we had made a real good path through those vines. And scratches – honey, you ain’t never seen anyone with as many as we had. We looked like we had been in a cage full of wildcats. The next day we looked even worse, but by the next night we didn’t hurt quite as bad.

I don’t remember how I explained all this to my stepmom, but I am sure I didn’t tell her the truth. By the time we got all healed up, we figured it would be a lot safer catching rattlesnakes than what we were doing to have fun.

I got out of the service Jan. 7, 1966 in San Bernadino County, Calif., and started to work on Sunday night of the same week, Jan. 9, 1966, for the A & Santa Fe Railroad. My job required me to get on and off of moving engines in darkness. You would be amazed how often that patch of saw vines crossed my mind.


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