Uncle Josh's Punkin Centre Stories

The Punkin Centre and Paw Paw Valley Railroad

WONDERS will never cease—we've got a railroad in Punkin Centre now; oh, we're gittin' to be right smart cityfied. I guess that's about the crookedest railroad that ever wuz bilt. I think that railroad runs across itself in one or two places; it runs past one station three times. It's so durned crooked they hav to burn crooked wood in the ingine. Wall, the fust ingine they had on the Punkin Centre wuz a wonderful piece of masheenery. It had a five-foot boiler and a seven-foot whissel, and every time they blowed the whissel the durned old ingine would stop.

Wall, we've got the railroad, and we're mighty proud of it; but we had an awful time a-gittin' it through. You see, most everybody give the right of way 'cept Ezra Hoskins, and he didn't like to see it go through his medder field, and it seemed as though they'd hav to go 'round fer quite a ways, and maybe they wouldn't cum to Punkin Centre at all. Wall, one mornin' Ezra saw a lot of fellers down in the medder most uncommonly busy like; so he went down to them and he sed, "Wat be you a-doin' down here?" And they sed, "Wall, Mr. Hoskins, we're surveyin' fer the railroad." And Ezra sed, "So we're goin' to hav a railroad, be we? Is it goin' right through here?" And they sed, "Yes, Mr. Hoskins, that's whar it's a-goin', right through here." Ezra sed, "Wall, I s'pose you'll have a right smart of ploughin' and diggin', and you'll jist about plow up my medder field, won't ye?" They sed, "Yes, Mr. Hoskins, we'll hav to do some gradin'." Ezra sed, "Wall, now, let me see, is it a-goin' jist the way you've got that instrument p'inted?" They sed, "Yes, sir, jist thar." And Ezra sed, "Wall, near as I kin calculate from that, I should jedge it wuz a-goin' right through my barn." They sed, "Yes, Mr. Hoskins, we're sorry, but the railroad is a-goin' right through your barn."

Wall, Ezra didn't say much fer quite a spell, and we all expected thar would be trouble; but finally he sed, "Wall, I s'pose the community of Punkin Centre needs a railroad and I hadn't oughter offer any objections to its goin' through, but I'm goin' to tell ye one thing right now, afore you go any further. When you git it bilt and a-runnin', you've got to git a man to cum down here and take keer on it, cos it's a-cumin' along hayin' and harvestin' time, and I'll be too durned busy to run down here and open and shet them barn doors every time one of your pesky old trains wants to go through."

Love—An indescribable longing, something that existed since
Mother Eve was in the apple trust, and will exist until the
end of time. Somethin' that no man has ever yet defined or
ever will define. A somethin' that is past all description.
Which will make a hired man fergit to do the chores, and
will make an old man act boyish, and will make a woman show
herself to be stronger than the strongest man. Gosh durn it,
an indescribable somethin' that has never yet bin described.
—Punkin Centre Philosophy.

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