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Boston Blacky
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Boston Blacky
An extended twist on a folk tale.
[1,439 words]
Ken Whan
A writer.
[February 2002]
Grandma's Garden (Short Stories) Childhood. [1,937 words] [Relationships]
Boston Blacky
Ken Whan

"The youngest of the Bunyan boys, [i.e., Paul's family], Cal S. Bunyan, built the most wondrous railroad in the world: The Ireland, Jerusalem, Australian & Southern Michigan Line. It took the largest steel mill in the country two years operating on a schedule of 36-hour days and a nine-day week to produce one rail for Cal. Each tie was made from an entire redwood tree. The train had 700 cars. It was so long that the conductor rode on a twin-cylinder, super deluxe motorcycle to check tickets. The train went so fast that, after it was brought to a dead stop it was still making 65 miles an hour. After two months of service, the schedule had been speeded up, so that the train arrived at its destination an hour before it left its starting point.
"One day Cal said to the engineer, "Give 'er all she's got!' That was the end of the I.J.A.&S.M. Railroad. The train traveled so fast that the friction melted the steel rails and burned the ties to ashes. . . When it reached the top of the grade, the engine took off just like an airplane and carried itself and the 700 cars so far into the stratosphere that the law of gravity quit working. That was years and years ago, but the I.J.A.&S.M. is still rushing through space, probably making overnight jumps between the stars.
"Old time hoboes had a name for this Flying Dutchman of a train. They called her 'The Wabash Cannonball', and it's said there was no station in America that had not heard her lonesome whistle."
Excerpt from The Wabash Cannonball author unknown

The tale of Boston Blackey, the Hero of the Hobos
By Ken Whan

Jeramira Gunther Blackey, youngest son of Samuel Gunther Blackey, grew up on a sharecropper farm at the mouth of Gater creek, near Possum Holler, Raintree County, Kentucky. He developed into a tall, big footed, rawboned sort of fellow. He wore a size 26 shoe, and was known to many as "Boxcar" because of the size of his shoes.
Have you ever wondered how or why some things are the way they are? Well, a lot of it is because of Boxcar.
It's said that one time he and an elk got into an argument and after wrestling for a week straight, the Elk conceded and they came to an agreement. To this day, every year sense then all the elks in the land give up their horns as part of that agreement.
Another time Boxcar had a blackberry batch that kept geten eaten up by birds. So one day he grabbed himself a porcupine and shook off all his quills and stuck em onto the stalks of them there blackberries and to this day you can't enter a blackberry patch without getting pricked by them quills.
Boxcar was a self-made doctor, brewing up his own medicines from the roots, herbs and barks of his native hills. You could often find him brewing up a batch of tonic in an old iron kettle in his back yard. It's said that his tonic could heal hangovers, broken bones and nagging wives, all from the same bottle. It is said that he had some old Indian formulas from which he worked. Later, these formulas were passed on to others, but alas, they are now lost much to the disappointment of medical science and hen picked husbands.
Did you know that Panthers in them days were white? One time one of them white panthers came near and started stalking ol Boxcar while he was cooking himself a critter over an open fire and made a lunge for him. Boxcar jumped over the fire to evade it, but the panther ran around the other side. Boxcar jumped back across the fire, and kept this seesawing up for a while, until he got out of time and landed on the other side of the fire at the same time as the panther. The only weapon he had was his hands, which are said to have been very large. Blackey was doing a good job of choking the panther to death, when the critter he'd been cooking reached out and swatted him (the critter happened to be a bear); Well, what with the panther and the bear and ol Blackey ah rolling around in the dirt and ashes to this day panthers and bears are black.

Once a traveling salesman came through the sleepy little holler that Boxcar called home and told Blackey of the big city up north called Boston. Well sir, them stories so fascinated ol Blackey That he up and went straight away to see this thing called a city and this place called Boston…..
Now Boston in them days was BIG, not as big as it is now but big none the less. And there are many tales to tell of Boxcar Blackey and his adventures in that thar city. Like the story of the Boston Harbor.
You see, Boston originally wasn't built around a harbor. No sir, it was built around a great big rock. And as the city kept growing and growing the town fathers figured they had to do something about this rock right in the middle of their plans to put in a red light district for all the traveling salesmen that so often came to town. Now you don't need knowing what a red light district is, it's just a place where men and women can socialize. Well, the town was encroaching right up to the edge of this great big rock but the rock was so big and so hard that you couldn't drill a hole or blast a chunk off it with dynamite! So the town fathers put up a notice that they would pay a heap of money to the person or persons that could do something about that rock. When ol Blackey heard about the offer he got to thinking and designed a huge mechanical machine that he planned to shove under one side of that rock and by means of a giant coiled spring he would flip that rock right out into the Atlantic ocean.
The town fathers liked his idea and agreed to build Blackey the biggest steel mill in the country to manufacture his rock flipper-outer. Well, you probably know how that story went. How it took12,600 horses pulling day and night just to get that spring wound up and how the first time they tried winding it the rope snapped out somewhere near Idaho and the coil sprung all the way back to Boston, but not before grabbing onto a chunk of land near Erie Pennsylvania and digging a trench all the way to Albany New York. Sometime later that trench filled with water and to this day ships sail on it. It's called the Erie Canal.
Boxcar got a bigger rope and tried it again. Them horses pulled that coiled spring so tight that toward the end the spring was pulling them back. The horses dug in their heals causing ripples to develop in the dirt and that's how the rolling hills of Montana were created.
Well now, all was set, the rock flipper-outer was under the edge of the rock , the horses were ah straining,. The band was ah playing, and Boston Blackey, that's what people had begun calling Boxcar, was standing at the rear of the horses with a 10 foot sword to cut the rope.
Boston Blackey gave a mighty swing and the rope cracked a mighty roar and that rock flipper-outer flipped that rock clear up into the stratosphere. It left such a huge hole that the ocean rolled in to fill it up and to this day that hole that Blackey created is called the Boston Harbor.
But that rock weren't done yet. Like I said, that rock flew clean up into the stratosphere and the earth rotated under it so that when it came back down it landed on some little island on the other side of the world, I think they call that little island Australia. Anyways, it so startled the folks thar abouts that to this day they call it Aires Rock cause it fell out of the air.
Your probably wondering how all this made Boston Blackey the hero of the hobos and I'm about to tell you.
You see, it was Boston Blackey's steel mill working 36 hours a day, 9 days a week to build the rails for the tracks of the Wabash Cannonball. And he rode the rails of that mighty train and to this day... He rides it still.



"I'm still laughing what a story" -- terry.
"What a story. Do you write children's stories for a living? I loved it." -- Dave R.
"Ha Ha Ha loved it and I live in Boston" -- Barbara.


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© 2002 Ken Whan
February 2002

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