by Emmett Smith
Over sixty years ago, gothpapa
rode along while his father made this film of a family trip on the B & O railroad, and his son set it to music on You Tube just a few years ago, as you can hear for yourself:
How powerfully rooted in that railroad past are certain rhythms of our popular music right down to today!
Otherwise, the feeling of the 8 mm film for me, made two years before I was born, remains exactly that of boyhood trips in the 1950s. On outings to Colorado and the Grand Canyon after combining wheat in southern Minnesota (this crop is just not grown anymore in the agchem heartland of GM corn and beans), with my Uncle Emmett Jacobson and Seventh Day Adventist neighbor Milo Hill, we would all take off in my Uncle’s new black and yellow 1957 Ford Fairlane. Uncle Emmett and Milo and “Mrs Milo” would all “drive to beat Hell,” all the “way out West.” All except Mrs Hill, I mean, who didn’t really talk that way but poured it on just as good as anybody! Of course that was no train trip — but we would race for hours it seemed like, with the big steam locomotives along the mainline through the Nebraska Platte valley…both there:
and back again:
Twenty-one years later I would work a season on the BN railroad, the “Booze & Narcotics” line, on that same mainline.
[Emmett R Smith all text-rights reserved 9 January 2009]