Breaking Words Episode 4

Hey! Episode 4 is out there baby! Careful listeners will find there is a mix up between what the podcast player says and what I say the episode number is on the podcast. Just ignore it. It is episode 4 even though I say it’s episode 3. I don’t always know what I’m talking about! As most people know, the gun debate, the debate over 2nd amendment rights is a huge thing in then country today. So this first poem, “What if…” is in response to that. Here it is:

What if I was sleeping in my bed,
and you broke into my house?
What if you had a drug problem
and needed to steal for money?

What if I woke up and shot you
with my gun?
My legally acquired, paid for
conceal and carry gun.

Is your life worth less than mine?
What if you have a mother?
Would she cry and say no mother
should have to bury her son?

Do you deserve to die
because you did something foolish?
Do I have the right
to take your life away?

Maybe you have children.
What if I had to face them
and tell them why
I took their daddy away.

What if I believe in God?
And I stand before God on my judgement day.
And God says “You killed one of my children.”
And I say “Yes Lord, but he was trying to steal my T.V.

Yeah, so that’s my commentary on that. This next one, “Steam Was Almost Gone,” has to do with trains, which I have loved since I was little. Northfield has a train yard with 3 or 4 sidings to it right in town. Late at night when I was supposed to be sleeping I could here the switcher engine roaring in the yard, moving box cars around. Northfield had it’s own railroad called, The Minneapolis, Northfield and Southern. That was pretty exciting for me as a kid because I loved trains. So I would listen to them at night in the summer with the windows wide open because it was hot, and even in the Winter you can’t keep the sound out. Here is, “Steam Was Almost Gone:

And the music came through the open window
as I would lie, not sleeping,
as my mother intended.

The screech and squeal of steel on steel.
The engine rumbling up to a roar,
the cars, banging together.

A bill of lading for each
connected together and bound for
well, who knows where?

Carrying what? I didn’t know.
Circus animals? Bombs for the war?
My 11 year old mind full of wonder.

And who drove those trains?
What kind of men were they?
As men they would have to be.

Bib overalls, engineer caps, boots.
Those weren’t things for girls.
They were big, strong, men.

They would shovel that coal,
stoke that boiler and
the steam would pour out the stack.

For maybe, the last time.
The Diesel’s were taking over.
Steam, was almost gone.

As sleep overcame I heard the whistle
and the rumble as the train pulled out.
And I prayed that steam, wasn’t gone.

And this last one, “Minnesota.” All these names were taken right off a Minnesota map. They’re all alphabetized, and that’s why I mention that there are no lakes or towns beginning with “X.” Now I could be wrong about that so if anyone knows of some, please let me know. There are over 11,000 lakes in Minnesota and some don’t even have names or roads to get there! It’s a great place to live. Here is, Minnesota:

I love this state. Conifer and Hardwood forests, rolling hills, farmland and prairie.
There is enough pink and black and white granite to make 10 billion headstones,
but we’re not the Granite state. That’s New Hampshire. We are the land of 10,000 lakes.
More like 15,000. Some don’t have names. For those that do, there are,
Angleworm Lake,
Bad Axe Lake,
Calamity Lake,
Dead Fish Lake,
East Four Legged Lake,
First Dog Lake,
Gibibwisher Lake,
Hanging Horn Lake,
Ice Cracking Lake,
Jock Mock Lake,
Kaapoo Lake,
Little Dead Horse Lake,
Magnetic Lake,
Nameless Lake,
Ox Hide Lake,
Pea Soup lake,
Quick Lake,
Rain Barrel Lake,
Skeleton Lake,
Thirty One Lake,
Unknown Lake,
Vegetable Lake,
Wawa Lake,
No lakes beginning with X,
Yodeler Lake,
and Zig Zag Lake.
And little towns scattered all across the state like,
Antlers Park,
Ball Club,
Ideal Corners,
Key West,
Pigeon Center,
Rattlesnake Point,
Toad Lake,
No towns beginning with X,
and Zerkel.
The town of Rice is not in Rice county, it’s in Benton County.
The town of Faribault is not in Faribault County, It’s in Rice County.
The town of Blue Earth is not in Blue Earth County, It’s in Faribault County.
The town of Becker is not in Becker County, it’s in Sherburne County.
The town of Cook is not in Cook County, it’s in St. Louis County.
The town of St. Louis is not in St. Louis County, it’s in Missouri.
The town of Cottonwood is not in Cottonwood County, it’s in Lyon County.
The town of Grant is not in Grant County, it’s in Ramsey County.
The town of Marshall is not in Marshall County, it’s in Lyon County.
As far as I know, there are no Lions in Lyon County.
And, The Mississippi River does not begin in Mississippi,
it begins in… Minnesota! in Itasca State Park, which by the way, is not in Itasca County.
And last but not least, I hear there is great fishing on Alcohol Creek!

So that’s it for Episode 4! As always, The music for each episode is from the Free Music Archives and the sound effects are from Zapsplat! Thanks for listening.


Big Blue Trains

When I was young I remember going to sleep with my bedroom window open during the summer months and listening to the sound of trains in the train yard of my town. The yard was only a few blocks from my house and it was easy to hear the whistles, the big diesel engines roaring and the cars moving and banging into one another. I was fascinated by trains. While I was supposed to be going to sleep I would think about them. I would wonder where they came from as they thundered into town and where they might go from there. Who was on those trains? The conductor, the engineer. Did they like trains as much as I did? Were they away from home a lot, seeing the wonders of the country? What did those trains carry? Who were they taking it to?

All these thoughts meandered through my head as I drifted off to sleep. I thought if I was thinking about trains when I fell asleep, maybe I would dream about them. Maybe I could be an engineer one day, putting the power to the wheels and having that train carry me away to some exotic place. I could learn about the places I went and tell folks about where I came from. I would give kids a ride on my train because after all, kids love trains.
Centercab MNS 1

What was really cool about the town I grew up in was that we had our own railroad. The Minneapolis, Northfield and Southern Railway. The cars and engines were bright blue with a red diamond insignia emblazoned with the name. Northfield was a small town in those days, compared with Minneapolis and to have your own railroad was pretty special. At least I thought so. One of the really unique things about our railroad was some of the engines were called “center cab” engines. Most big train engines had a cab at one end and a big diesel engine. Ours had two diesels with a cab in the middle. These were made by the Baldwin Locomotive Works, (my mother’s maiden name) and they were somewhat rare. And they were massive, and powerful. The loudest thing you ever heard.
Caboose MNS2

So what brought on this bit of nostalgia? I was at my mom’s house last week shoveling out her driveway and I heard a train whistle. I stopped with a shovel full of snow and listened. That sound! A flood of memories came back all at once. I love trains! Now I know they throw millions of tons of crap into the air burning diesel fuel but I love them anyway. Whenever I went somewhere in the car with my folks I always hoped we had to wait for a train so I could watch it go by. I would try to read everything on the cars so I could figure out what was inside. Everything in the world would just stop while the train went by. Those big blue engines were the greatest thing man ever made.

In the near future my wife and I are going to buy my mom’s house. The house I grew up in. The house near the train yard. I can’t wait.