Friday, April 29, 2011

"Grandfather Oscar, Working On the Railroad?"

By all accounts my grandfather Oscar had a life long aversion to employment. The very idea of “working” for someone else was totally unacceptable. So it came as a shock when he announced one day that the railroad company, Norfolk-Southern, had offered him a job at the local depot. His responsibility was to fill the water tender of arriving trains, since most trains at that time were still steam driven. He’d sit in the tower above the locomotive’s tender (much like the one pictured), turn on the spigot, and wait for the tank to fill up, when he’d turn it back off, a process that took all of about 10 minutes to complete. During his 8 hour shift only 2 trains were scheduled, though he was paid for the entire 8 hours. Well, Oscar managed to endure nearly 2 weeks of this ordeal, finally quitting in disgust at how being there all those hours “just ruined” his day! There would be no further talk about another job...

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