Saturday, June 10, 2006


While I was at home for my sister's graduation, I learned something very interesting. My grandmother, like my sister, was the valedictorian of her class. We were chatting, and I asked her about the content of her speech. She told me she couldn't remember, but it was also a pretty sad time, because her grandfather had just died in an accident two days before the graduation.

I asked her how he died. Her reply was something along the lines of, "Well, he had some chickens. And there was this grass he liked to feed the chickens that grew along the railroad tracks. Now, he was about 90 years old and was pretty deaf, so I guess a train came along and he didn't hear it coming. So he died because he got hit by a train."

This was startling to me for a number of reasons. First of all, I was pretty sure my mother had NEVER heard this story, and as such had no idea how her great-grandfather had gone to meet his Maker. Turns out I was right - she was also pretty startled. Then there's the weirdness around the mere concept of my great-great-grandfather being hit by a train. And finally, holy crap I have an ancestor who lived to be 90 in freakin' 1935!! I might actually live forever, barring any run-ins with transportation services.

So then it gets stranger. Apparently on my dad's side, his father lost not one but two grandparents to a train accident. His grandparents were driving along (do you still say "driving" if it's in a buggy with a horse? I suppose so, as I can't imagine what else you'd say) and they apparently stopped on or very near to a railroad crossing. Again, they are both hard of hearing (I believe Grandaddy's exact phrase was "deaf as posts") and a train came along. So they both died. If you're wondering, no one seems to know what happened to the horse.

I would say I would try to avoid trains now if possible, but frankly that's just not going to happen around here. I will, however, be getting my hearing checked at my next doctor's appointment. Just in case.


Ebony said...

Is it awful that when I read the title of the post I assumed it was going to be a post about the band? My sincerest apologies.

Stephanie said...

Hmm... unless you have good hearing aids remind none of us to be around you and railroad tracks when we're old.