My father worked for the railroad all his life. His father before him did that as well. Most of those years his employer was the L&N (Louisville and Nashville) Railroad. Mergers and such had him working for CSX at retirement.

(I hope I am correct in saying this. He was 42 when I was born, and being a railroad man was all I ever knew him to be.)

His avocation, his passion, his love, was football – and he played, coached and refereed games for over 60 years. This brought him much pleasure, but the railroad was his income.

He was a brakeman and had other positions I can no longer name, but when I went to college, he was finally accepted into the engineer program. At long last he fulfilled his desire to be an engineer.

Many of his trips went to or through Cowan, Tennessee – a place I had always heard of but never knew anything about.

On a trip last weekend we passed through this small town in the foothills of what become the Appalachian Mountains. It was a small, well-kept village with antique and junk stores I would like to visit someday.

Much to my surprise and delight, in the center of town is a railroad museum and an old locomotive on display. Another piece of my dad’s life of which I had so little understanding.

I wish he were here to tell me all about his time spent there. I would be a better listener now.


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