The beans are in the soup pot soaking, the hambone is poised and waiting for the morning light to be dropped in. Time to celebrate the new year. Start the first day of the year humble is how the old southern tradition goes.
I did a little more investigation on the December 18, 1971 newspaper in my father's box of things. I knew the top story, Crane Topples; Kills Railroader, must involve my grandfather. He was a machinst out at the railroad for 30-some years. Sure enough, he was there that day. There was a train derailment in the railyard and so they brought in the cranes, along with my grandfather, whose job it was to keep the cranes running. But there was really nothing he could do. The crane operator, a man called Gordie Doncaster, was lifting up 400,000 pounds of train engine when the boom began to swing. The outriggers, for some reason, hadn't been extended. The crane toppled in seconds and trapped Doncaster beneath it. All anyone could see of him was the bottom portion of his legs, beneath the knees. The nearest crane that could free him was in Fort Wayne. The railroaders spent the next four hours, the longest four hours of my grandfather's life, staring at Doncaster's feet and knees and waiting for the train bringing the crane. When at last Doncaster was freed, the coroner said he certainly hadn't survived beyond the moment of tipping and everyone was relieved.
So that's the story of the December 18, 1971 newspaper, although it still doesn't explain why I had to read it on that particular day. Grandfather says he doesn't know why the newspaper was in the box of my father's things.
In other news, I got my first rejection from the poetry sphere, although it wasn't as bad as it could have been. Something along the lines of "close, but no cigar. Send again." I'll think about it.
And that's how 2007 is closing. Bring on the new year.