The Pilot

During our recent road trip where we explored Mount Rushmore and the surrounding areas of South Dakota, we stayed in a little town that prided itself on having an ‘olde fashioned train’ and historic railroad museum.

To promote their ‘Historic Wildlife Tours’ and the museum, they placed a refurbished shiny black and red accented steam engine on the corner of the property where it couldn’t be missed by cars and pedestrians passing by.

Having passed by it several times during our stay, after one particularly busy day at dinner JB asked Charles “Daddy what is that big red thing on the front of the train engine for?”

“It shoves rotting cattle off the tracks.”

“Charles, that’s disgusting.” I commented.

“Well, it’s true, it’s called a ‘cow catcher’.” he replied.

“Yes, but it presses live ones off the tracks too.”

Then we noticed the minyons. JB, who’d asked the question in the first place, had stopped eating her hamburger mid-bite and her eyes and mouth were wide open in horror.

BW though, kept eating away, appearing to be deep in thought.

Setting his burger onto his plate, he raised a pointed finger and said ponderously “It makes sense. They could keep going along the tracks and blast away anything that blocked their path.

“But the train would probably need a shower after that.”

He then picked up his burger and took another bite as we looked on with eyes wide open. JB never did finish her dinner.

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