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    STORIES: Train Trestles (the lucky shot)

    By walt | September 29, 2009

    September 29, 2009

    In late Spring we would go and pick blackberries along the railroad tracks near the trestles that crossed White Oak bayou near 34th Street. Once my brothers and a few of our friends got hungry and decided to forage for some berries to eat. It was hot and we where sweaty and sandy from a dirt clod fight we just finished with a neighboring band of boys we didn’t know to well.

    I looked for a stick to move the brier vine with before sticking  my hand in like my Dad had taught us. “Scare any snakes off before you put your hand inside a bush to pick a blackberry” he always warned. I found the right stick and began feasting on some of the juicy fruit. Blackberries have a range of flavors depending on their ripeness. The still red ones are bitter and tart, The Black ones are less tart but the purple black ones they are my favorite sweet and juicy. Some times we would pick some to take home making a pouch with our tee shirts but mom would get mad cause it left a purple stain she couldn’t wash out. We seemed to be eating more than collecting.


    It was the late morning freighter heading into Houston from the North, The engine whizzed buy and we waved and watched awhile then started harvesting again. It’s hard to focus at a simple task of picking berries within 15 feet of tons of steel whizzing by at 25 MPH. So I looked up and saw the caboose crossing the trestles coming toward us. Mr.Caboose leaning out the window to see what we where doing, he was waving to us. I had just picked the biggest blackberry of the day when the Caboose came along side my brother Steve . I hollered over to Steve “WATCH THIS” (which I now know as his famous last words) I wound up and threw the berry towards the man in the caboose waving out his window. He did not see it coming. The lead was perfect as a quarterback to a wide reciever going on a post pattern.

    SPLAT!  Blackberry hit him right between the eyes making a reddish purple spot that exploded like he had been shot. We couldn’t help but started laughing then I saw him pick up this radio to call the Engineer. Instantly we heard the train brakes begin to squeal and the whistle blow. We looked at each other dropped our snake sticks and began running and yelling for the other boys to get the hell out of there. The others did not know what was happening but instinct kicked in and they took off too. We where long gone before they got that train stopped but hid in the woods for another hour in silence just in case. You can bet we where as hidden as those blackberries we where searching for earlier.

    So If your reading this Mr. Caboose, consider this my apology: I’m Sorry! Can’t help but still chuckle, when I think about it though.

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