Days Off are not Off Days

I didn’t realize I was going to take days off, but it was lovely to drift through the last ten days as our head count in the house came down to three. John was volunteering at church where a group prepared and served breakfast to youths who were here for a mission event. While he was out, I did half our usual walk and came back to work in the garden. With my weeding and John’s clipping bushes, we can see a definite improvement.

Son John $pencer and Rose are driving West. Rose texted, “A beautiful Nebraska sunset for you, a train for John, and a Sadie picture for David.”

Rose knew just what would please us. I loved my sunset.

I sent Sadie’s photo to David, and he was glad to have it on his phone.

The train was obviously a big hit. I showed it to John, and he asked me to thank Rose. She replied, “I expect he knows what train it is by looking at it.”

The next time John came in the room, I read Rose’s reply. His response was, “It’s the Powder River unit coal train. I would like to know whether that was the front or back of the train and whether it was going East or West. If it was heading East, it was loaded with about 14,000 tons of coal for a power generation station east of the Mississippi River. There were probably two other diesels on the other end, controlled by radio. The engines will stay with the train, even on another railroad.”

Can you imagine having that kind of information in your head all the time???? I guess that’s why his hat size is larger than normal. One-size-fits-all doesn’t work for him.

42 thoughts on “Days Off are not Off Days

  1. I’m impressed by all that train knowledge. I recognized the Union Pacific engines, and coal cars, but that would have been it for me — although, if I’d been there, I could have figured out which direction it was going. I do wish we still were in the days of “engine in front, caboose in back.” That made it really easy.

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  2. Lovely post! Once when I was visiting, I mentioned a conversation that Bestefar (our grandfather) had on a train in Minnesota in the 1910s or 20s; so John whipped out a book of train schedules ca. 1915, studied it a moment and said it would have been an interurban train (sort of a glorified trolley) from Albert Lea to Hayward, Minnesota.

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  3. It was kind of Rose to find a suitable photograph for each of you.When I joined the RAF, I gave them the opposite problem to John, one size fits all just wouldn’t work.I was a 6 7/8ths then and still am. My brother is a 6 3/8ths and mainly has to get kids hats which isn’t easy either.
    Have a wonderful weekend.
    Massive Hugs xxx

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    1. I sometimes take John’s knowledge for granted. He worked with some young people before retirement, and one man was very impressed with all that John knew. He said, “If I could have a brain transplant, I’d want yours.” That tickles me every time I think of it.

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      1. It’s like guitars with my husband. Every once in a while he gives me a quiz when we are at a concert. I always say stratocaster. Sometimes I’m right, somethings not.

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      2. Grandson Nathaniel makes up words when the right one doesn’t come to mind. He says the made-up word so quickly and with such confidence that few people challenge him. I know to listen. He put foible and quirk together to make quirble. His friends in high school thought he had the most amazing vocabulary, as indeed he did! It’s just that a fair number of words didn’t exist before or after he said them.

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  4. John’s train knowledge is amazing! How does he do it? So, your house is getting back to “normal” again, huh? What do you think about the quietude?

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    1. John has poured over train facts since he was a boy. He majored in history, and has a huge framework in his head of important dates. Things stick there! He was in shipping and still keeps up with freight movements around the world. I don’t remember things and find him a valuable life resource.

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    1. Most people don’t realize how romantic trains can be. A commenter asked how John knew so much about trains. I asked him, and he started with the emotional side! As a boy, he said it was almost overwhelming when a huge engine went chugging by — the noise, the smell, and the magnificent power drew him like a magnet. He still reads trade bulletins and newsletters to stay up-to-date.

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  5. I am amazed at John’s train information stash. I think Lar has a stash like that in his head about International tractors.
    Thought of you guys as we were on vacation to the Black Hills this past week. A few of those days our kids and grandkids were with us and we also had a full house. Lar and I also sat and watched the old train leave the station at Hill City, SD.

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    1. Sounds like you had rollicking times last week. I served pie made from your recipe to the neighborhood ladies. I would have written about it, but Connie and Marla announced they are putting their house on the market. Pie and fun conversation we’re forgotten. Everyone loved your pie.

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  6. I love the train info! Our youngest was fascinated with “everything trains” when he was younger. Now, being a young teen, his interests have shifted a bit, but he still gets intrigued from time to time. I bet he and your husband would be fast friends. 😊

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    1. John would thoroughly enjoy your son. He could talk and listen about trains or any other subject for hours. Our grandsons are 24 and 18, and we spend time with Logan (9) who lives across the street. John is also an expert on Reformation history, having taught it in Sunday School to 5th and 6th graders for 40 years.

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