Pilgrim Jim's Treasure Field
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matthew 6:21 KJV


Lean back in your seat, and let me tell you a railroad story. Once upon a time my wife Sandy and I had occasion to ride the rails on a Amtrak passenger train from Denver, Colorado to Rocky Mount, North Carolina, a two day trip, leaving Denver at 9:00 PM. We lived in North Carolina at the time. The ride from Denver to Chicago was fairly comfortable and we enjoyed the sunrise and early morning scenery from the observation car. By the time the train reached Chicago, we were beginning to get tired. It is difficult to sleep well while sitting in the seat on a railcar even though most of the seats are comfortable, at first.

We had a layover of a couple of hours coupled with a change of trains in Chicago and our assigned seats were very close to a smoker car. The tobacco smoke smell was terrible so we asked for a change of cars and the Conductor moved us up to another car and assigned us two seats. As soon as I sat down I knew something was wrong with the seat but I didn't know what it was. The longer we rode, the more uncomfortable that seat became, no matter how I wiggled and moved around. About the time we were approaching South Bend, Indiana, I told the Conductor about the strange, uncomfortable seat and I also told the Train Master but they indicated that, "This is a spanking brand new car, the best on the market today and there just can't be anything wrong with these new seats." I knew that something had to be wrong with this spanking new seat and it felt like it was spanking my bottom. The discomfort continued until I thought the circulation was being cut off in the area of my body that the seat was torturing. The Conductor was upset and somewhat perturbed that I was not happy with the seats.

Finally I told Sandy that I was going to "take this seat apart" and see why it was so uncomfortable. I began dismantling the seat and found that the base of the seat had not been completed and the webbing or nylon support that was supposed to support your bottom, was missing so it was like sitting on a big potty seat. The middle of the seat, underneath the cushion, was nothing but empty space so my bottom was hanging there, supported by what began to feel like a ring of fire where the solid part of the seat made contact. I called the Train Master to show him, and he scratched his head and wondered how that could happen, this is a brand new car, the best on the market today. I had to laugh because it was funny. The Train Master told the Conductor to assign us two different seats and the Conductor pretty much avoided us the rest of the way to Washington, DC.

Later while we were eating in the dining car, a waiter spilled a whole glass of soda pop all over me and after I wiped some of it off I had to laugh again. I told Sandy that I thought this trip was going to be a real experience. We changed trains again in Washington, DC and headed south toward North Carolina.

The most amusing thing about the trip happened as Sandy and I were walking along the aisle at night, in the dark, and the train car swayed and lurched. When I looked back, Sandy was nowhere to be seen. I finally heard her voice saying, "Jim, help me". When I looked closer I found that the lurching car had caused her to fall square on top of some guy who was trying to sleep. Now that is still funny when I think about it.

I wondered later if the train's Conductor, Train Master and all the crew got together after each run and sang, "I've Been Working On The Railroad".

James Lloyd Clark

 Next Article: MEMORIES OF WINTER     
                               Back to MEMORIES page