Grandma Mellie's Scrapbook
Copyright © 2001, Michael S. Cole, M.D.

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Railroad Reminiscing

    There's a stillness in winter which cannot be found at any other season. However, as each day goes by we know it's one day nearer spring, the most beautiful time of the year. New life comes forth and our spirits seem renewed.
    This time of year, when one has to stay inside, gives one time to indulge in some reminiscing. Last evening I was recollecting the time the first railroad came through these parts from Eureka Springs to Harrison. It was at the turn of the century.
    The railroad came through our farm. I was a young girl at the time and I remember watching them dig the cut, using horses and scrapers. If the machinery used now could have been available then, the railroad would have been built in short time.
    Much blasting was used and rocks would come over near our house. That would terrify me.
    When the first train came through, everybody took a holiday and gathered in a field to watch. When it approached I was so frightened I ran back to the house, got into bed and pretended I was sick.
    That was the time I got the idea to light our kerosene lamp to see what it looked like in the daytime.
    Those huge steam locomotives were fascinating to see. It was thrilling to hear the whistle and bell ringing, the engine puffing up a long grade, and large billows of black smoke flowing back over the train.
    It was told that when the first train came to Harrison some ladies had open parasols. The engineer told them to close the parasols or they would scare the train. Some did ... I think that is a likely story.
    I have grandchildren who never rode on a train. A few years ago those steam locomotives were replaced by diesels and the thrill passed. Trucking and cars took business away, and the old M and NA [Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad] is no more. The tracks have been removed, as the railroad was operating at a loss.
    Today we are in the presence of continued change. "Behold! all the old things are swiftly passing away. And all things are new."
    We must have progress.
    Nevertheless, wasn't yesterday fun?

Mellie Peery
January 29, 1963

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