Taken at Marceline Depot February 1978.
Original Author of such words as: Breedia, Clabber, Dry Bag, Need Hat, Casings, Corten.
Breedia: When someone was happy just say "Breedia" to them and that would wipe the smile from their face.
Clabber: Grouchy People!!!
Dry Bag: Grouchy Clabbered up people!!!
Need Hat: A hat that someone evidently needed or wouldn't have purchased!!
Casings: New Tires.
One might say that Raymond was the original "Clabber" and yet the debate may go on forever as too whom may have best fitted this Honorary name. When Raymond retired he told me: Sam, you are now left in charge of designating "Who Is and Who Is Not" a Clabber and by-golly they can't get out of it for anything!!!!!!!!
I met Raymond in September 1973 after hiring out at Marceline, Mo. as a fireman on the Santa Fe's Third and Fourth Districts. I was placed into the Engineer's Accelerated Training Program shortly thereafter and Raymond was one of the 3 engineer's the Road Foreman had selected for me. The other two being U.A. Wilson and H.A. Wright. During the following 18 weeks I would spend 16 of them with Raymond. My first encounter with Raymond was at the YMCA in Argentine when he told me that he had been selected to train me as an engineer. He wasn't too sure that this feat could be done and as I later learned he was pulling my leg. However, Raymond had previously earned 60 demerits for two different incidents that happened within a short time of each other and that had him worried. Santa Fe would not dismiss and then re-instate him later as Raymond had never had a blemish on his record before this time and was considered a very good long time employee. So, he was relegated to operate with the maximum demerits one could have on their shoulders without being dismissed. I was told that we would work strickly by the rules and watch every move that was made with a sharp eye on account of the heavy demerits. During the 18 weeks I learned a lot from Raymond and it helped quite immensely when I went to school in Amarillo, Texas in February 1974. Another thing that he taught me was how to develop a "Thick Skin"!!! This man tormented these old guys in such ways that is very hard to describe and they loved him!!! He would even set me up and watch me get mad as to which I learned to handle therefore developing the "Thick Skin"!! To this day, I handle the stress on the job with Raymonds kind of antics and it get's me through the hard times. So, if your going to learn how to piss people off without them getting mad who better to have learned the trade from than Raymond Walton.
A lot of the stories Raymond told were quite hilarious and I can only tell them to the best of my memory. Raymond worked as an engineer during the last of the steam era and his memory was quite excellent of these times.
Probably one of his earliest stories in relationship to this particular timeline would be when Raymond was a young man traveling with his father to the various Coal Mines around the countryside. Exactly where all these locations were I couldn't really tell you but it seems some were around Lathrop, Mo and that general vicinity as coal mines were everywhere in those days. He said that his father had told him "Son, you are never going down in those mines as long as I can help it" so he always washed dishes or chores of that nature around the Canteens that were located close by. His father described those tunnels as horrible places to be and dangerous. Raymond never went into a mine!!!
The YMCA in Argentine was quite a place to stay while on layover. It was a two story brick building with single occupancy rooms and the bathrooms were located on each wing about centerways down the hallways. When entering the front door one would find the lounge where the men would watch TV and play cards. Nice easy chairs were lined up against the wall where you could sit and read or just chit chat. Raymond would sit in these chairs and wait for someone to sit down beside him and just make statements that drove them wild. One particular time Engineer Kenny VanWye sat down next to him and was reading the newspaper. He was leaning back all peaceful and holding the paper up a little to be looking at it from somewhat of a distance and angle. Raymond sat there for a while smoking a cigarette and casually turned the cigarette under the palm of his hand and reached out and touched Kenny on the arm with his pinky. In Kenny's haste he thought Raymond was putting the cigarette against his arms and threw that paper across the room while trying to climb out of the chair in such a way to keep the cigarette from burning his arm. What a racket he made!! He finally got up yelling "Walton, I'm going to knock the hell out of you"!!!! But, when he seen what Raymond had accomplished he just sat back down and continued reading the paper.
Raymond and I deadheaded Argentine to Marceline one trip and had a brand new brakemen with us on the head end. All three of us rode the same trailing unit home and fell asleep somewhere enroute. About Rothville, I woke up and noticed Raymond sitting there looking around and hollering about sleeping thru Marceline. This brakemen [not knowing the road] jumped up and started talking about trying to get back home. Raymond just kept going on and on about sleeping thru Marceline and that we'd have to go all the way to Ft. Madison and await another train to get back home. This brakeman at this time was really scared and I was kinda feeling sorry for him but not one to interrupt the fun that Raymond was having. In a few minutes we arrived the west end of Marceline yards and this guy could see the Disney Swimming Pool and just looked at Raymond. Nothing was ever said again to this day. I've even forgotten who the brakemen was but I'd bet he hasn't forgotten!!
One story was while descending the Rothville hill. Raymond had Delbert Eads firing for him and they were on one of several B&O Steam engines that Santa Fe had borrowed. This locomotive was bouncing and carrying on something awful when Delbert looked over at Raymond and said, What do you think Raymond? Raymond said he took the cigarette out of his mouth and calmly told him "Right now Delbert, I wouldn't give you two cents for our lives" and Delbert just about abandoned a moving locomotive!!
One time while sitting on the outbound engine track at Argentine Raymond and Delbert were sitting on a steam engine waiting to get back to the train when Delbert kinda dozed off. His head was out the window on the armrest and Raymond started tossing small chunks of coal over the cab from his side and these chunks would hit Delbert on the side of the head. Delbert would jump up and look around and then go back to sleep again. Finally, Delbert had enough and wanted to know who was throwing the coal. Raymond told him some kid had been running around throwing the coal and Delbert set out to find him but never did. Raymond had a good laugh at that one.
Another was one time while sitting on an eastbound at A.T. Jct. with an F unit on the point and the engineer was Frank Fiali. Raymond had opened his window and was talking to someone on the ground. While looking down toward the ground Raymond got into an argument with this character and Frank kept saying "what's he saying buddy"? Raymond just kept arguing with the fellow and finally said "My engineer is not an asswhole" and slammed the window shut. Well, old Frank jumped out of the engineer's seat and opened the fireman's door ready to pounce when he found nobody out there. Raymond told Frank that the fellow ran off when he seen Frank coming!! In reality there never was anyone arguing with Raymond at all. Raymond tormented Frank like this all the time.
Raymond and Frank were going to work at Argentine and Frank took the engines to the train while Raymond got lunch for them to go at the Smokehouse near the YMCA. As a joke Raymond had the waitress to fix a garbage sandwich as well as the normal sandwich for Frank. Later in the trip Frank asked for his sandwich and Raymond gave him the garbage sandwich. Frank opened the wrapper and started cussing the waitress [which he couldn't wait to see again]. Finally after quite a while of listening to Frank rant and rave about the waitress and the sandwich Raymond came up with the good sandwich. That calmed Frank down but he never did figure out what Raymond had done to him.
Raymond and Frank would also tie up at Argentine whereas the brakeman would walk on to the YMCA ahead of everyone else while the Engineer and Fireman would tie-up at the Roundhouse Office. One evening Raymond beat Frank to the Register Room and put a trash can in front of the door and turned the lights out. He then sit down on the opposite side of the room on the floor. Frank would come into the dark room and trip over the trash can sending trash and whatever else that was in the path all over the room. Finally, he would find the light switch and turn it on. There he found Raymond sitting on the floor and Frank would immediately assume the brakeman or someone else did this to both he and Raymond. Raymond let him rant and rave for hours on end without ever telling him what had really happend.
Raymond's wife Alice had to be one of the most wonderful women in the world to put up with stuff that Raymond pulled on his friends. One time Raymond and Joe Still were talking on the phone when the cursing started ripping and roaring. They weren't really mad at each other but just screaming over the phone at each other. Alice finally got tired of listening to this and walked over and hung Raymond's phone up and casually walked away. Raymond never said a word [except telling me the story].
More to come