[dropcap]I[/dropcap] carried Jamie’s mother around town for some errands. I noticed she was a little sleepy. I helped her into the passenger seat of the car and buckled her seatbelt. By the time we exited the driveway, Mary was already out like a lamp.

When we arrived to the hardware store, I tried to rouse her from her slumber. But she wouldn’t move.

“Miss Mary?” I nudged her. “Wake up.”

She flung her hands at me like a cage fighter, just missing my face by a few inches.

“Leave me alone,” she mumbled.

“But Miss Mary –”

“I’m staying here on the train, let me stay Mister Conductor.”


Then I remembered that her hometown of Brewton, Alabama used to have a train depot. Miss Mary told me she used to ride the train when she was a girl, back and forth from South Carolina.

“Miss Mary, we’re at the hardware store.”

“Leave me alone, I’m on the train.” she insisted, drawing out her vowels.

“Don’t you want to go inside?”

She threw her fist out at me again and mumbled something about wanting a Coca-Cola and a baggie of peanuts.

I thought for a moment, and came up with an idea.

“Tickets!” I called out. “Tickets please!”

Miss Mary shot straight up from her sleep. “Oh Lord, the ticket inspector!”

She looked at me, and suddenly realized where we were.

I winked at her and said, “Ticket inspectors, you gotta hand it to them.”

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