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Back in 1983 I was working for the Cotton Belt railroad at Dalhart, Texas, right in the heart of the Texas panhandle. The Rock Island Railroad had folded a year or two earlier, so the Southern Pacific, through their Cotton Belt subsidiary bought this line , which extended from east of Kansas City to Tucumcari, New Mexico, where it end to ended with the Southern Pacific's line to ElPaso. After an extensive and expensive rehab. of the line, (as I remember, they claimed to have used a million tons of new ballast during that time), A lot of rail traffic was diverted from the Cotton Belt's Pine Bluff Division through East Texas,where I was working, To the Kansas City Division which ran through Dalhart. The SP proudly proclaimed it was saving 600 miles over the old route with it's new railroad aquisition. To make a long story short, after the diversion of traffic through East Texas, I was cut off (laid off), so I followed the traffic . That is how I wound up In Dalhart. Naturally when you move to a new place, you meet a lot of new, and sometimes very interesting people. One of these memorable characters was a man named "Buffalo" Joe Edwards. Joe was about 40 at the time, and quite handsome, with an olive complexion, and black wavey hair. He was also quite a joke meister, and knew probably hundreds of jokes, which he could tell with perfection. Joe had worked for the Rock Island somewhere in Nebraska, but had lost his job with the Rock's bankrupcy. Like me, he had moved to where the work was. It was a pretty cold winter that year with a lot of snow, and when Joe came to work, he wore an enormous cowhide coat that he had made himself. I mean this was not just a leather coat, but a coat with all the hair still on it. It had a big collar, and extended all the way to his ankles. That coat is where he got the nickname Buffalo Joe. He said it was a Buffalo hide, but it was really made from cowhide. He also brought with him, A large aluminum box, about three feet long, and maybe two feet square on the end. This box was full of food! By the way, he carried this box winter and summer. Naturally, I had to ask about the coat and box. He told me this story. He was called to work, and even though it was winter, it was bright and clear --- a beautiful day. He was riding the caboose, every thing was going well until the weather changed. It started snowing, then became a blizzard so bad that the train became stuck in the snow. There they were stranded in the middle of the Nebraska nowhere. They had no food, and no more than some light winter clothing. They must have been there about two days. He said that they almost froze, and nearly starved to boot. After that experience, he wasn't going to let that happen again. Joe said he was always prepared for the worst. With that big coat and box of food he was ready. I saw him some years later at Herrington,
Kansas, It was winter, and he was still wearing his famous coat.
D. E. Jones
that is a great story thank you for shairing. It is a shame about being layed off.
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