Volunteering as a trainman on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in our national park, you never know who you'll run into among the thousands of passengers over the years.
Enjoy talking with everybody and they come from all over. But it's especially great when you run into someone you know and work with.
Such is the case the other day when a lady told me that the ride was a 92rd birthday present for her dad, who was sitting beside her.
We chatted for a few minutes while waiting for the train at the North side station and in the course of things, I mentioned I retired from the Akron Beacon Journal.
The lady said: “So did my dad.”
Turned out her day is retired printer Lloyd Bigelow, looking fit as a fiddle at his age.
We immediately began talking a walk down memory lane..coming up with names of folks we'd work with and recalling a story or two.
One he told me was about the late printer Bill Ferguson when Loyd and a bunch of printers spend vacation days in Florida at the motel owned by another former BJ printer, Bill Gorrell.
Fergie went for a swim and when he came out of the water he asked folks if they had seen his teeth. Nobody had and it turned out he had lost his lower plate in the ocean.
Loyld retired in 1992 and lives in Cuyahoga Falls. With him on the birthday trip was son-in-law Tim Hermann and daughter Becky Herman.
This isn't the first time I've run into a BJ link.
A while back in talking with a couple, the lady said maybe you knew my dad...Robert Griffin.
Bob was composing room foreman while I was at the BJ. The daughter was Joann who was aboard with her husband. I've lost my notes on the couple. I wrote them on a scrap of paper and lost it.
I used to run into her sister, Jeannie, at Wal-mart in Cuyahoga Falls. She recalled that on auto trips, Bob would recite the poem “Cremation of Sam Magee.”
That led me to tell her a story about that. It was at a retiree luncheon. Bob was sitting at the head table. And at the end table sat Craig Wilson. It was around Christmas and Craig was going into his act and reciting “Night Before Christmas”.
While Craig was talking, Bob in a soft voice that could be heard by those sitting nearby, recited the cremation.... don't know if Craig ever knew this. But of all the times he came up with poem, none of the kids had a recording of the performance.
When I mentioned this at one of our luncheons, one of the printer said he had a cassette of Bob. I borrowed it and made copies and passed it on to Jeanne who has retired from her Wal-mart job.
So running into people you would probably never know when you pass them on the street and getting reacquainted is a great bonus of this volunteer job.