Tales of Open Road

Portland Hotshot

... and I had misjudged the target ...

Tales of the Open Road, by Bill Jodrey

I arrived in Redding, California, at midday and I felt very sick and dizzy so, having some cash on hand, which was not usual, I found a rooming house and, while I was registering, I told the lady at the desk just how I felt and she told me to check at the county hospital which was just up the street.

I went immediately and after the doctor checked me out he said  I had either sun-stroke or  appendicitis and to go to bed for three days and to eat nothing until he came to check on me, three days hence.

Feeling very poorly, I went right to bed but not for long.  Due to the number of bathroom trips, I can't put into print the next two days and nights.  I still don't like to remember them.  On the third morning when I awakened, I felt like a new person and I was so hungry I left the house to have breakfast.  When I returned, the houselady said the doctor had come to see me and he was very upset that I would eat without his permission.  Oh, well!

Along about noontime, the gate attendant told me a train called the Portland Hotshot would slow down but not stop to pick up mail.

I know I'm not the brighest kid on the block and it was only later  run at a boxcar ladder, but, too late, I realized I had misjudged the target, which was the ladder, and I bounced off the side of the moving train and went head-over-heels in the street.  Several people who were waiting for the train to pass rushed over to pick me up but I regained my footing and grabbed the next ladder that passed.  Only the help of several angels could have made such a stupid action turn out safely.  I climbed that ladder and, as I neared the top, a man who was twice my size reached down and pulled me up to safety.  Then he gave me a 'talking to' that I still remember.  He had been a brakeman all of his adult life and he assured me he had never seen such astupid action before.

What can I say?  All's well that ends well.

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