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from The Brightest Firefly by Dacia M Arnold

Life on the Extra Board

Life On The Extra Board






Much like military family life, the railroad has many challenges. A common struggle is being on call 24/7 and the effect not having a set schedule of constant travel has on a family. There is no easy way to explain to people why I always anticipate my husband being gone on weekends, holidays, and special occasions. Wives of railroaders seek each other out for solidarity and this is my ode to them.


Twelve hours drug on like a lame dog. Red lights had the train stopped with the view of a cow pasture to the left and a highway on the right - the middle of nowhere. Two hours into the trip and dispatch had the train stopped in a siding to let another train, likely hauling the mail, run around. With no one else but the engineer for ten hours of the day, the conductor stared out the window, nodding off every now and again. The next day was his son’s fourth birthday, but at a standstill there was little chance he would make it home before the little tike went to bed. ...

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