Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Texas & Pacific

Ten years old and I'm east-bound on the old Texas and Pacific rail line. Yesterday morning we boarded the train at Union Depot in El Paso and in just over an hour we'll be arriving in Shreveport, where we'll get on the bus for the last stretch of this trip to church camp. The girls of the church have been at camp all week and are probably just finishing their west-bound trek and are rolling into El Paso about now. But we are a train-load of excited boys. Or at least we were all worked up when we left home twenty-something hours ago, but at this point we're tired and grubby. Yet we're still determined to make this trip fun.

The trees of east Texas are lumbering along at a leisurely 40 mph and we've long since wearied of looking out the window, so we're roaming the train looking for something to keep ourselves entertained. Thus, my big brother Roy notices the warning in the lavatory, "Do not flush commode while train is within city limits" and he amazingly divines the reason for this prohibition. He shares the implications with me, and our mission becomes immediately clear.

When doody calls, I give my all. I (having now locked and loaded a round) am gripping the trigger as the train slows and creeps through a small East Texas town. Roy stands at the window opposite the lavatory to signal the exact time of release. (Now, I should interject at this point in the story that Roy, like our father before him, will someday serve in the Air Force as the navigator of a bomber. And on the B-52 it's the radar-nav who's responsible for releasing the nukes. Although technology will have greatly improved since the days when my dad was guiding his B-24 over Europe, the human element will still be the deciding factor in accurate targetting when Roy sits downstairs in his BUF.) Roy's performance on the train this day (July 1, 1962) is a portent of a stellar career as a messenger of nuclear destruction.

Roy signals, I flush, and we both run through two rail cars to the back of the train to look out the rear window. There (neatly straddling the center stripe of the railroad crossing) rest yesterday's enchiladas. Frank Sinatra may have left his heart in San Francisco, but I've just left a bit of me in Longview, Texas.


Roses said...

No surprise on the accuracy.
After all, you *did* score high in math and engineering...

LadyBugCrossing said...


Jerry said...

It is a good thing that they didn't have DNA testing in those days.

However, if the local PD had bagged up the evidence it might be possible that they will come knocking on your door, now that you have posted this. (I can see them, subpeona in hand, at blogger.com requesting your identity.)

I am not sure if there is a limit to the statute of limitations for such a dastardly crime. Do you think that they will still try you as an adolescent?

JDP said...

Bet the Amtrak trains of today can't get away with dumping human waste on the tracks in or out of town.


Bob said...

Thanks for dropping by neighbor. I notice that Dudley's been getting around Texas. He needs to check out the Davis Mountains (the Fort Davis / Alpine area). Beautiful country there.

I'm sure I can find some Alan Derschowitz ambulance-chaser to get me off -- after all I was an abused child.

Yeah, Roy and I thought that was pretty funny too.

The skill was all Roy's. I do so admire my big brother.