29 December 2008

Going to Dreamland with Elvis

I read in the news that the oldest man in the United States has died in California at the age of 112. His name was George Rene Francis (may he rest in peace). That paves the way for the next oldest man, Walter Breuning of Montana to take his place as the oldest man. Walter is also 112 but is a few days shy of Francis. America's oldest woman is 114-year-old Gertrude Baines of Los Angeles. There is one thing that I don't think that I am going to have to worry about and that is being the oldest man. Besides, that would be too much pressure for me. I would probably die of anxiety just thinking about it. I can just imagine sitting there at number two position and hoping that I didn't die before number one kicked the pail. That sure is a tough way to get your fifteen minutes of fame. I guess you really have to be patient.

At lunch time today I decided to take a walk to shake down some of that Christmas turkey that I ate too much of. It was a nice warm sunny day and I walked along the railroad tracks near where I work. I was thinking about George and Walter and Gertrude when I passed a boxcar that had both doors open and on the other side I saw another boxcar that carried the following stencil (in Spanish) which you can also see in the photograph below:

ULTIMO
VIAJE

A SUS DUEÑOS

R 90


Translated that means “Last trip to its owners Rule 90”. This means that according to Rule 90 of the railroad interchange rules this boxcar has come to the end of its useful life of forty years and is being sent home to be cut up for scrap. The scrap metal will be sent to the steel mill to be turned into new steel and the boxcar will eventually be resurrected as a bunch of new toasters, or a city bus, or even part of the cruise ship that you take your next vacation on. If a boxcar can be resurrected and receive a new life then it is reasonable to assume that we can too. I am thinking that maybe when I get to Heaven I can be a movie actor or even a rock and roll singer like Elvis. Hey, I wonder how he is doing up there. Do you suppose he is only singing Gospel music or do you suppose that God lets him cut loose every once in awhile to shake things up a bit? I think that with a little adjustment the sign on the boxcar would make a good epitaph. Instead of “Ultimo viaje a sus dueños” it should read “Ultimo viaje a sus sueños” or “Last trip to his dreams”. That is my prayer for George Rene Francis...that he is now in the land of his dreams. I'll see you in dreamland, George.

Click on photo to enlarge.

3 comments:

glorv1 said...

That was a very sombering post Bob. I would only want to live to be that old if I have control of all my functions. My dad always said, "as long as I can eat,pee, stand and walk, I'll be okay." He also used to say, that his feet always asked him how long would they have to carry him. My dad was a jokester. Yes, may they all rest in peace. Very nice post. By the way, continue with the walks, as they seem to increase your stamina for writing. See you neighbor.

Steve Cotton said...

A veritable prose poem, Bob. Nicely done.

Angela said...

So what rule number would follow your epitaph? "Last trip to his dreams R150" (or something)? You'll have to write Fast Bob's rule book... or I know... Fast Bob's Quality Assurance Manual of Life. hehe I think you used to call it "The River of Blood", right? ;)

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.