The Book

I was about ten or eleven years old when I met Mr. Earley. We had just moved from a farm because my daddy had obtained a job making tractor parts in a nearby town. What I remember about the home, although small by today’s standard, is that it had a front porch and what was called a sunroom.

The porch looked over a small two-lane road toward railroad tracks.

But my interest was more in the backyard that was separated from an enormous field by a small dirt road. What seemed to be a treasure for any small boy, it contained a creek that ran into a quarry filled with water. And from that was another creek and another quarry filled with water, which flowed into the local river. Of course, I was forbidden to venture either in the direction of the railroad tracks or especially anywhere near the creek or the quarry. There were a couple of exceptions, the first being when I walked to school. The school was only a couple of miles away, and crossing the street by going under the train tracks via a viaduct saved me precious time.

The other exception was when my mother and I would walk along the tracks and pick up coal for our furnace. We both carried gunny sacks to load the coal, and when a train would pass, Mother would ask them to toss out some coal to us. They always did and then we would wave and thank them.

I guess we were poor, but no one ever told me.