Me and my sisters grew up in a house
That stood below a steep embankment
Where the railroad went through our
Little village of Mount Vernon.
Twice a week the train would come through.
Early in the morning before daylight the whistle
Would wake up the roosters and every
Other living thing in the the country.
Later on the train would pass our house
Again as it doubled back to Englewood and
From there it went I never knew where,
But we were always out in the yard waving.
The engineer would wave and blow the whistle
As the locomotive and its cars wound by our place.
Fresh cut lumber was loaded on the flatbed carriers
And behind them was a red caboose with railroad men.
The aroma of the train engine and the lumber
Was different back in those childhood times than
Anything we ever smelled for the rest of our days.
It hung in the summer air for hours sometimes.
There was a couple of rough hitches in the track
Where the coal car would rattle and nearly always
give us a few nice lumps of fuel for the hearth.
The train would always act glad to give that to us.
The railroad men in the caboose were so grand.
Hollering and waving to us as we gathered those
Lumps of coal and lots of times they'd throw hard candy
Down to us and sometimes hair bows too even.
Every now and then there would be some cloth
Scrapes for quilts or some meat scraps for our dog.
Mammy was always so tickled when we would come
Running into the house and carry on about what we got.
One winter right at Christmas there was a Mexican
Family that lived out at the sandlot that never had
Lived through a winter and didn't have much in the way of
Warm clothes for school or bedding for the cold nights.
Mammy and us had made a quilt out of the "train" scraps
And she told us to take that very quilt over to the sandlot
Kids and tell them to wrap up good in it and stay warm.
We didn't know we was poor, and neither did they.