Years ago, I walked into town. I went to a juke joint and got drunk. The owner called the law. The police took me home. He helped me in my home. He led me to my bed and took my boots off.

“I said, ‘I love you Jamie.” He said, “I love you, Handel.” It left something on my heart and soul I have never forgotten.

Cousin Wiley said, “sometimes a second chance is in order. Sometimes it is not.”

Handel Craft

Jones County

PS: Jamie, who I have seen twice since then, is a friend.

Stop, look, listen

I am reading of a teen who was struck and killed by an Amtrak train in Hattiesburg. Maxwell “Max” Bolton was a 16-year-old boy. He was excited about his first job and wanted to be on time. So, he was walking to work with his headphones. He wanted to make a paycheck to be able to buy his family gifts.

This news hits home with me. The reason is that I worked as a caretaker of the Amtrak station in Laurel for years,. I stood with passengers boarding and disembarking. I greeted the arrivals of the morning and evening trains and waved goodbyes at their departure from Laurel. I always remember the train whistle being so painfully clear — ouch. I have loved to lend a celebrator’s touch by purchasing balloons and sketching signs on poster board to greet outgoing and incoming passengers. So many wonderful memories flood my mind. I remembers a lady from downtown called out, “Who is coming to Laurel? Elvis?”

I laughed.

These days seemed to be my heydays.

But my cautionary words to everybody are  to stop, look and listen! The most difficult anxiety that I faced was constantly watching vehicles and pedestrians crossing the tracks seemingly not alert to the dangers. The passengers ready to board and I were anxiety-ridden as the Amtrak train was heading into the station. We could see pedestrians and also drivers hurrying to beat the Amtrak train. They would barely make it across. I even saw older people tripping on the track while the train was blowing, trying to beat the train. It was quite nerve-wracking. 

A message I need to relate is that everyone needs to be aware that trains take a lengthy time to come to a full stop, once the brakes are used.

Everyone, please heed the warning that you need to pay extra caution at railroad tracks. Please!

Glenda Flynt


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