Monday, March 7, 2011

The Night Riders

One night in my sophomore year, GeorgeB (best college friend)) and I were playing poker at a boarding house down on Erie Street. One of the other players went downstairs to stretch his legs and reported back that there was a train stopped outside in the middle of town - two blocks away.

Someone suggested we jump the train. In the scramble to get our shoes on, George and I got separated from the other two. We jumped into an open boxcar just as the train began to move and before long were in the countryside with the train picking up speed. It was winter and the moon was out. The countryside looked just the way you expect from "over the river and thru the woods....".

Our first thoughts were how beautiful. Great adventure this riding the rails stuff. Then, "I wonder if the other guys made it on board? I wonder where we are going? How are we going to get off this thing? etc." After awhile we felt the train slowing down. As the train entered the rail yard, we jumped off. The snow was friendly; we landed outside the yard in Jackson. Then the question we should have asked long ago occurred - "How are we going to get back to Albion?" I was due to work Baldwin Hall breakfast crew at 6 am and it was now two. Walking twenty miles in four hours wasn't going to work.

We decided to find the state highway and hitch it back to Albion. After a half hour walk we were at the highway. Cars went by and time went by. I began to wonder if we had made the right choice. Then a car pulled over - a patrol car! A state trooper stepped out while his partner was busy on the radio. "What are you guys doing out here?" Gulp! Forunately George was a quick study. I explained we were frat pledges from Albion and had been dumped in the country and were trying to make our way back to college. After the ID checks and a series of questions, the officer said - "You guys know you'r standing a quarter of a mile outside the walls of the State Prison - don't you?" No wonder cars weren't stopping.

The police packed us into the back seat of the patrol car and off we went, George and me ad-libbing all the way to Albion. As I looked around, I noticed there were no inside door handles; we were definetly caged! The story we were spinning better work or I would be more than late for morning breakfast crew.

When we entered Albion, they asked us where we wanted to be dropped. Certainly not on campus. George said we were Delt pledges and they could drop us at the Delta Tau Delta house - the most remote house from campus. They did; we thanked them and they watched as we ran up the steps. Fortunately, the door was unlocked. We ducked into the parlor and watched to see if the police would leave. Whew - they did and we were free at last.

I walked over to Baldwin and crashed on one of the sofas with an hour to rest before it was time to make breakfast for the Seaton Hall crowd.

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