Never Hop A Train

—Never Ever Hop A Train—

Growing up, we lived right next to the train tracks.
“Seaboard System Railroad” and “CSX” ran by our house twelve times every twenty-four hours. I may be off a little on that.

Now, you might think that a ten-year-old boy born with Spina Bifida wouldn’t be able to “Hop” trains. You’d be wrong, though. I was very apt at hopping trains.
But, I knew a trick. I learned how to slow the train down. And, I’m not going to give that info out over the internet, either. I did, though.

I’d slow the train down to a good slow speed and jump on the ladder.
I could’ve easily cut my leg off.

In the late ’80s and early ’90s, trains still had a Caboose.
Remember the good ol’ Caboose?
I did know, however, that the Caboose was being done away with.
I knew because some trains that came by our home no longer had a Caboose, and some did.
And one thing I’d always wanted to do was hop the Caboose to see inside.

I loved trains. Still do. I dreamed of growing up to be an engineer or the Rear Breakman or “Caboose Conductor.”
Since I knew the Caboose was being done away with, and I didn’t see a “Caboose Man” in the past fifteen Cabooses, I figured it was a good time to see what the inside of a Caboose looked like.

As I said earlier, some of the trains coming by the house didn’t have a Caboose, and some did.
So, I slowed four or five trains down only to find out that those trains didn’t have a Caboose.

Finally, I slowed one train down that did have a Caboose. It was now or never.
I ran up to the ladder on the Caboose and jumped up on the ladder.
“Yes!” I shouted.
I walked up onto the back of the Caboose; I had made it.
—In I walked.

The inside of the Caboose was everything I had imagined.
It had two seats for the Conductors to sit in—One facing forward and one facing backward. The seats sat up high too. You had to climb a ladder to get up to the seats.
One hard bunk to sleep on. A desk and a stove for heating.
I checked the whole thing out.
There was even a couch—A spring couch. It was full of springs.
I remember it being very bouncy as I jumped up and down on it.

I got lost in my own little world while on that Caboose. And I lost track of time. Ten minutes or more had passed when I realized I was far from home. I had stayed on too long. I was way over a couple of miles away, I’m sure.
I looked out the window and thought, “Uh-Oh. I ain’t never gone down the tracks this far before.”
To this day, I don’t know how far I rode down the tracks on the Caboose.
I know it took over two hours to get back home—I did a lot of running on that trip back home too.
And it was worth every mile I had to travel back home—Worth Every Mile.

Never Ever Hop A Train. You can get Killed trying it.

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