Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Railroad Job

The Railroad Walk
We were building a cabin on the Alaska Railroad north of Talkeetna in the winter. I had gone in on the train to get the crew started and needed to get back to town to take care of some other business, so I decided to walk the eighteen miles back to Talkeetna instead of waiting until the next day to catch the train.
I calculated that I would walk four miles an hour so it would take four and a half hours. It was about five o’clock then so I would be in Talkeetna at 9:30 or at the worst 10:00 PM. So off I went.
There are mile markers on the Alaska Railroad so it is pretty easy to determine your speed and my speed was slow. I thought I was seeing things when I had only covered two miles in the first hour. Granted, walking on the snow on the railroad tracks was uncomfortable but I didn’t think it was slowing me down that much but the next eight hours proved to me that railroad walking was indeed slower than any other walking I had done.
I finally arrived in Talkeetna about one in the morning to find that I had left my lights on in my car and my battery was dead and I was dead tired. I went into the bar to see if I could find someone to give me a jump. One guy said he didn’t want to risk doing damage to the alternator in his new truck but another couple was getting ready to leave and they agreed to help me.
The man was drunker than his female companion so she drove their old truck to my old car to get it close enough to jump. The man was directing her to the car with wild gestures and yelling at her until she stopped everything and gave him a definitive middle finger to which he responded violently and ran up on her as if he was going to hit her. I ran over and split them up and told them I would find another way, thanked them for the help and headed into the old hotel and asked for a room, I would deal with the car in the morning; I had had enough adventure for one day.

No act of kindness, no matter how small is ever wasted.
- Aesop, Greek fabulist

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