July 11, 2020
"The Challenges are Many and Great; The Men are Few but Greater."
The time has come to turn a new page. This past Thursday was my last day (night) working on the CW Sub (Washington Eastern and previously the Eastern Washington Gateway). Deborah and I will be leaving for Duluth where I have accepted the position of Operations Manager of the North Shore Scenic Railroad and a new adventure awaits. I will miss running on the CW and more so, my fellow crew members and friends, though the memories will always be close to my heart and in my mind. Being involved in this historic 100-mile railroad and the eccentric group of individuals, who have come and gone as well as remain, has given me the privilege to make and become close friends and brothers-in-arms, and I will always be indebted to them for making the near four years of working on the CW an indelible, life-changing, priceless, experience. In fact, I fulfilled a childhood dream I never thought I would; the dream of becoming a Railroad Engineer. I thank you one and all for your camaraderie through thick and thin, in and through circumstances, conundrums, and calamities that would have had most anyone else turn and walk away; for staying the course when all seemed for naught. We made it work. We overcame, we improvised, we adapted. We, few good men, together, have been privileged to write a chapter in the storied history of the CW. Hopefully, others will do the same, and that the CW will continue to survive and prosper. Indeed, "The Challenges are Many and Great; The Men are Few but Greater." A motto I developed for the EWG, but now, more than ever, in light of recent global developments, seems applicable and needed in every facet of our very existence, as humans and humanity. Indeed, we need Deus ex machina!
To quote from Whitman and the movie Dead Poet’s Society, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life? Answer. That you are here — that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.” That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”
Alas, although I was slated as the conductor on the second section of the HM09 on my last day, the position I originally hired on as with the Eastern Washington Gateway in September of 2016, Ted Curphey kindly offered me “The Seat.” At first, I was reluctant, but I did take Ted up on the offer and am glad I did as it was Ted who noticed the Neowise Comet on the eastern early dawn (03:30) horizon at Odair as we were setting out a storage car. I saw it as a sign. A sign that one should never forgo once in a lifetime opportunities, like hiring on with the EWG, like taking the Seat when it’s offered, like memorializing a mercurial comet. So I insisted we tie down briefly and record the event of my last run, the comet, and Ted having noticed it and suggesting the angle of capturing it, a capture among so many more that are, priceless, once in a lifetime moments that I am so thankful to have been able to document and preserve. Images that will rekindle fond memories and offer a glimpse into the CW and those who made the CW what it was and for future generations to behold and imagine what it was like during our time.