"Mountain Memories" Page 16
The people walked the tracks a lot of the time, especially if it was wet and muddy, because it was easier to walk the crossties than it was the rough, muddy roads; however, the trestles were dangerous because the roar of the river made it hard to hear the train coming.
One time Mark Self, Joe Miller, and his sister Dan were walking on the trestle when the train was almost upon them before they realized it was coming. They didn't have time to get off the trestle so they just hunched down between the crossties. The train passed over them and they didn't get a scratch.
There was entertainment in the mountains, even if it came as a result of another person's misfortune. My mother told me of the time she and her older children/watched a man trying to get his family across the river on foot. One by one he carried the children across and sat them down on the bank, then he went back to get his fat wife. Everything was going smoothly until he got to the middle of the river and his wife suddenly became frightened and began to kick and scream. Then all the children on the opposite bank started screaming and the poor man in his confusion dropped his wife in the water. The onlookers had a good laugh!
Life couldn't have been more exciting than living in a shanty car with a partition and a knot hole and an old fellow living on the other side who liked to sing. He probably sang because he had left his wife and family in the "flat lands" and was lonely. He would sing while cooking his breakfast and the song always stopped when he tossed his pancake high in the air because he had to concentrate on making the pancake land upside down in the skillet, which it always did. Then he would resume his song, picking up the words exactly where he left off.
It has been told (I don't know if it is true or not) that one time a storm was coming through the mountains, with strong winds that were uprooting trees. The old man looked out his window at the fierceness of the storm; he became very frightened when he saw a large tree coming down right toward his shanty car. He cried out in terror, "Lord, help!" The tree missed the shanty car and in a calm voice he said, "Never mind; it missed."
In. the early years of the century these people used oxen as work animals. By the time of the Babcock Lumber Company days, it was mostly horses and mules. Mules were stubborn but oxen were both stubborn and slow. It was in the days of my mother's girlhood that her father, Harvey Hartness, owned an ox so gentle that she could push herself in between his long curved horns and he would not move or hurt her.