ASLEEP AT THE SWITCH


Where is brother Russell, leader of this crew of men?
A good and honest workman, even though he's seen the Pen.

Sixteen-hour days and eight-hour rests, he spends upon the roads
Of endless stretching rails and wires and poles, and fetching loads

From far off points, and cars to fill the needs of shippers too,
We wait his imminent return -- this local's overdue...

Now he rides the freights, his uniform is put away,
With Passenger Conductor's hat and things of yesterday,

Children even rode those winter trains to get to school,
Now they've only busses left, and snowplows are the rule,

Many a troop train off to war and many a Purple Heart,
Many a last long ride there's been on many a baggage cart,

Not so long, my friend, it's been since Promontory Point,
When rails first spanned our country then, with nary a welded joint,

Countless lives it's taken thru the years to keep us moving,
A world on wheels, in motion, then and now, and still improving,

Russell never closed the switch, he closed his eyes instead,
His railroad service ended, for Russell J. was dead.

                                                        by D. Edgar Murray