Friday, February 16, 2007

The Old Depot

My friend Joe and I walked the two miles from Sloss down the old Southern Railroad spur line to Old Dora in search of a cold co-cola. It was in the early 60's before I got my driver's license but it was a warm day in June and we had nothing better to do so we walked. We spent a lot of time back then thinking and talking about what we were going to do when we grew up. I wish I could remember what we thought and said because it would be an interesting contrast I'm sure to where we are now. It's very likely the pictures in my head had nothing to do with being a computer analyst because very few computers existed then and the ones that did were a massive tangle of tubes, diode's, and capacitors with disk drives as big as refrigerators. I now have more computing power and storage on my cell phone. How far we have come.
But on that warm summer day I do remember that we were dreaming large. We got off the tracks near the old grammar school and walked the sidewalk towards Dora and through the walk-through tunnel under the main railroad line. I picked up an old chunk of coal that had fallen off a boxcar and wrote my name and drew some kind of picture on the wall. Most of the art on that tunnel wall was primitive and crude but it was cool in that little tunnel and a fun way to pass a little time.
We scored a cold drink at one of the stores and walked up to the depot to waited for the afternoon train. It no longer stopped in Dora, but it still picked up the mail. The post master would send the mail up to the depot in a canvas bag and the man who worked for the railroad would hang it on a pole at the edge of the platform. When that train blew into town, the conductor riding in the caboose had some kind of hook attached to the train and it would snatch that bag of mail right off the pole. I thought that was the coolest thing I'd ever seen...and at that point in my life, it may have been.
Sometime after I graduated from high school, they moved the old depot (or tore it down) and all that remains there is a slab of concrete surrounded by scrub brush, honeysuckle vines and ragweed. The mail is delivered from town to town these days in big trucks and airplanes.
It's been a while since I've talked to my friend Joe but maybe the next time he's in town, we can ride down by where the old depot once stood, park near the platform and have us a cold drink and reminisce about life in Sloss and the old depot and think about what we want to be when we grow up.

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