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I thought I’d share a memory with my father. I was about eight years old and my brother six. Dad used to take us downtown to watch the trains. This is a hobby even today I enjoy. On this summer evening a Chicago Great Western freight was idling as he awaited clearance from the tower to cross the main line of the Chicago North Western. Dad had pulled the car up in a parking lot across the street from the engine and we sat there watching this huge engine with his string of cars. We had been there a bit and he still hadn’t moved. Then Dad said, “Boys, the engineer is waving at us - he is waving for us to come over to the engine!” Well we didn’t need to be told twice. So in a flash the three of us were out of the car and on the way to the engine. We arrived next to the locomotive and Dad visited with the engineer for a time with us right there.
Then the engineer said something I’ll never forget. “Would you two boys like to come on up in the cab?” Holy SMOKES! One at a time my Dad boosted us up - really he handed us up to the engineer. I recall climbing the iron steps and felt like Jack climbing the beanstalk. We both got inside the cab and the engineer told us he was hoping we might help him move the train forward a bit to “get ready.” My brother and I looked at each other and back at the engineer. He told us to push this lever and pull back on that one, now ease this knob forward. Finally, “There! We have this sitting right where I need it. Thanks boys!”
Oh, my gosh - we had moved a freight train and if it wasn’t for us it wouldn’t have been right where he needed it. I’ll never forget it!