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I had made another friend while plying my trade as “Railroad Detective” in Scranton. His name was Jim McFee. Don’t ever call him Jimmy-John or Jim-Bob; you may have a fight on your hands.

I learned the hard way.

Jim was a good old boy from Tennessee. When I say “good old boy” I don’t mean it in a pejorative manner. I mean he was just a good guy.

Except for his accent. When we first met I could not understand a word he said. I thought Bogdan Yelcovich had a bad accent – – – you should have heard Jim’s. At first I could not figure out if he was from a foreign country or if he had a speech impediment.

It was neither – – – he was from Tennessee.  

But once I got to understand him I found out that he was quite an interesting fellow.

He had a lot of country sayings and phrases that would make me laugh. For instance he, in jest – – – well I hope it was jest – – -, referred to me as “that wally-eyed guy.” One day it was so cold I was shaking. Jim asked me why I was shaking “like a dog trying to pass a peach seed.”

Another time he told me he lives “30 stones” from Knoxville proper. I asked him how far that is. He said “well, you just throw a stone and then walk up to where it landed. Then you pick it up and throw it again – – – and so on and so forth for 30 times.

One day he had arranged a free caboose ride from Scranton to Knoxville and asked me to join him. He said I would enjoy seeing such a place.

He was right on that account.

Knoxville RR Station

We arrived at one of the nicest railway stations that I had ever seen. Then he told me I just had to visit Gay Street. Hell, I agreed, this was just a nice tour for me. So off we went to Gay Street.

Knoxville Gay Street
It had recently been bricked and had trolley tracks running every-which-way. Of course the “road apples” from the horses were everywhere.

There was a lot of construction going on in Knoxville also.

Knoxville Gay Street Construction

Apparently a lot of authors liked to write about Gay Street; authors such as George Washington Harris. I walked around Gay Street and asked questions. I seem to do that a lot – – – ask questions. The people told me about their favorite author and what he wrote about.

Knoxville Sut Lovingood Cover

This Sut Lovingood character was a trouble-maker – – – but a lovable one. For instance he wanted to know what went on within the secret sessions of the Free-Masons. So he hid in the attic and listened.

Knoxville Sut Lovingood Ceiling

I think I know why Jim speaks the way he does. Possibly he read too many stories about “Sut Lovingood.”

As I Wander Introduction 2

©W. Tomosky

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