Otis Harrington

by Jim "Bones" Reekie


Jim ReekieOtis Harrington loved to tell tall tales. He was a nice enough guy, but just loved to tell bigger lies than everyone else.

One day Otis had stopped his train so everyone could eat at the mess hall at Willow. An old passenger from Talkeetna set down across the table from Otis and began talking to him. The old man said he once knew a guy who lived out in the woods that kept feeding these trout. These trout would come up to him and he kept feeding them. Finally, they got up and were following him around.

Otis knowing replied, "I heard about that. I heard about that."

The old passenger continued, "One day that guy crossed the pond on a log and the trout slipped off and they all drowned."

Otis slammed his fork down and said, "If there isn't anything I can't stand it's a big fat liar!" He jumped up and although he liked to eat, he left everything there on the table and stormed out.

That old guy had just embarrassed Otis to death. He was a nice old fellow, but he had heard all these big lies and he figured he would be like one of the guys. And I guess he was.


A group of railroad workers were sitting around talking about all the trouble they were having with ice down south. Otis said, "That ain't nothing. I run off on the ice one time and didn't even know it. Then I noticed I didn't recognize the country. I looked down and saw we had run off the track and onto the ice for miles. So I reached over, put it into reverse and backed the train up onto the track again."


We used to sleep in the caboose, me and Otis and others. Well Otis would get up every morning and complain he never slept a wink. One night we were sleeping in the caboose a couple hundred feet from the Curry power plant. Later in the night the power plant blew up. It even blew the boiler up through the roof! Their was a big fire and the explosion killed the fireman.

Otis got up the next morning. He was in the bottom bunk because he was old and couldn't get up top. As he stood up he noticed there was glass all over. The explosion had blown the windows right out of the caboose. Otis said, "I never slept a wink last night." And then he added, "Where did all this glass come from?" He never even heard the power plant blow up!


One time they had a meet at Houston. Long John was the engineer. For some unknown reason, Otis decided there was something wrong with the engine. So he got on top of that engine and was messing around with all those domes.

In the meantime, the train crew was giving Long John a big high ball. Long John didn't know where Otis and he kept looking back at the crew who kept giving him the high ball sign. Long John was afraid the crew would get mad so he whistled off and almost blew Otis off the top of that locomotive!


Otis was out rowing out in Resurrection Bay and a fish jumped in the boat. He looked down to see what kind it was. Just then another fish jumped in, hit him in the head and knocked him out. He says when I came to the boat was full of fish. .



© 2004 Jim Reekie