The Long Ride Home

–The Summer of 63

It was late Summer of 63 and one of my school friends came over to spend the weekend with me.  I lived near a warehouse where my daddy worked, and the train came every day to unload lumber and supplies.  The loading door was even with the boxcar so workers could load and unload product.

The summer was almost over, and we were looking for an adventure.  The conductor was comfortable seeing us around the boxcar and even let us ride with him from building to building.  Our favorite thing that we did was put pennies or nickels on the tracks and when the train passed, we collected the very flat coins. We took advantage of that familiarity, and we hid behind some boxes thinking we would ride a short way down the tracks.  We had explored the tracks and knew several places we could jump out before the train got far down the tracks.

The train was picking up speed and I could feel a bit of uncertainty about jumping out.  The boxcar door was ten feet from the rails and the tracks were on a brim about three feet off the ground.  Fear was setting in rapidly, and my heart was beating very fast.  My friend was turning pale, and I thought he would be sick. We watched from the door as the brim got higher and the drawbridge over the Intercoastal Waterway got closer.

We both had backpacks since we were pretending to be on an adventure.  We sat back against the boxes, pulled out our sandwiches and water from our canteens, eating quietly not knowing what to say.  The clacking sound of the wheels was making it hard to stay awake.  It was a frightening time for us as we knew that we were going to be in trouble.  I always tried not to disappoint daddy, but I was positive he was not going to be happy about this adventure.

In the distance, I could see the train trestle bridge going into Conway and knew that once the train crossed the river, we would be able to jump down as the train came to a stop.  My cousin lived just a few blocks down the road, and I knew that as soon as she saw me, she would call daddy.  We walked a slow unhurried pace to her front door and rang the doorbell, waiting in a deep silence until we heard the door opening.

My cousin was not the quiet calm type and after ten minutes of non-stop yelling and letting us know what she thought of our adventure she told us to go to the kitchen and help ourselves to cream pie and milk.  I had long ago concluded that pie and milk could fix most anything.  I heard her on the phone with my daddy and thankfully daddy didn’t have much to say.  I was more worried about what actions he might take.

Conway was fifteen miles from Myrtle Beach and traffic was bad on the weekends so I knew I had at least an hour before I would have to account for my little adventure.  Without a doubt, it was fun riding in the boxcar, little did I know I would ride the rails many more times in my youth.

It was a long quiet ride in the backseat, no talking, no radio, and I was sure laughing would not be taken lightly.  We couldn’t even look at each other and after he dropped my friend off we headed home.  Daddy said he would not tell my mom what happened because she would get very upset. He asked me if I enjoyed the train ride and after I moment I said, “I did, and it was a great adventure.”  Daddy smiled and asked me if he had ever told me about the time he stole granddaddy’s mule and rode it to the general store.

That was my first true adventure, and I knew with all my heart that there would be many more, more than I could have ever imagined.


Larry Tyler
Larry Tyler
Awaken the possibilities … then unleash them. After 55 years of successful retail management, I have returned to my passion of writing. I write Poetry, Storytelling, and Short Stories. As a child, I grew up on front porch storytelling. I would sit and listen to my Dad and his brothers tell these great stories that were captivating, and I always wanted to hear more. I wanted to experience the things they talked about. I started writing at a young age and reading everything I could get my hands on. At twelve years old I started a storytelling group and several of my friends became writers or poets. At 16 I hopped box cars and worked the tobacco fields, orange groves, picked cotton, and spent many nights around a campfire listing to life stories. Someone once asked me why I wrote. It consumes an amazing amount of time and I assure you it is not going to make me rich. I write so that my children can touch and feel my words telling of the ones that came before us and the stories they told me. These are the chronicles of our family and even though they come from my childhood memories and are deeply rooted in a child’s remembrance at least they may feel what it was like in the time before them and cherish the things the elders left behind. I am a Columnist & Featured Contributor, BIZCATALYST360 and I have The Writers Café, a group on LinkedIn that features Poets, Writers, Artists, Photographers, and Musicians . On Facebook I have two groups and one page; Dirt Road Storytelling, From Abandoned To Rescue Dogs And Cats, and About Life, Love And Living. As writers, it is true that we honestly do not know what we hold within us until we unleash it. When our words inspire others only then will inspiration return to the writer. I will spend my twilight years in search of the next story, the next poem, and the next image. I will take the time to enjoy my Wife, our Dogs, and Cats, and our amazing new home and I will always find the time to walk down a dirt road I truly hope is that I never have to read another book on Leadership, be on a conference call or see another plan o gram as these were the tool for what I did in life and not about who I am.

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