A freight crew stopped as it was coming south through Healy. A brakeman came out, checked the train and found a filthy bum on it. The brakeman said, "Heck, ain't no use riding out here. It gets cold at night. You may as well come back here and ride in the caboose." So the old hobo got into the caboose and rode in comfort. Once they arrived at Broad Pass the brakeman even bought the old hobo a hot meal. Once they were back on board the caboose, the crew found an old parka and boots and gave it to him.
They eventually got down to Curry and the old bum thought these railroad guys are pretty good fellows. He stayed right there at the Curry hotel and didn't go on. He slept in one of those comfortable chairs there in the lobby. However, he was filthy so the manager was on his back trying to get him out of there.
The bum figured he had better get out of there so he went to the conductor of a train and asked him if he could get a ride. Now this train was a northbound and had a different crew than the one that had treated him so kindly. Paddy Rogan, a conductor with a heavy Irish accent, said, "Yea, you can ride. There is 25 cars out there. Get on any one you want." The bum replied, "No, I want to ride in the caboose." Paddy replied, "No you're not riding in the caboose." It hurt that old bum's feelings.
So that night they set their caboose out (back in those days you had your own caboose) and got their train. As the train pulled out, Paddy and I hoped on board of the caboose. Well, the old bum had been waiting there in the shadows and he came out yelling, "Screw you, you foreign son of a sea serpent, you don't even speak English." Paddy blew his top and yelled back at him. The old bum was smart enough to know that once the conductor was on board the moving caboose that he wouldn't be able to do anything to him.
© 2004 Jim Reekie