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Mixing Old And New

March 25, 2021

But, I don’t have any cash.

I’d still like us to tip them

Maybe they have Venmo

I wrapped up a mini vacation with my lovely wife today. We were staying at a resort in Midway, Utah. Midway is on the opposite side of Mt Timpanogos from Pleasant Grove. Midway is also just a few miles from Heber, Utah. In addition to being where my brother used to live, Heber is home to something called the “Heber Creeper.”

That sounds much worse than it is. In fact, without context it sounds kind of creepy. It’s not. It’s an old fashioned railroad. The “creeper” name refers to the speed of the train. I’ve seen people run faster to catch a bus.

But, speed isn’t really the point. In fact, the Heber Creeper tries to take us back to a slower time. Some would say simpler times. But, I think the issues that people had 150 years ago were probably just as complicated to them as our world is to us.

The train takes 45 minutes to chug from Heber to Soldier Hollow (site of the 2002 Olympic biathlon.) During that 45 minutes, two different acts perform. One is a guy dressed in “traditional western outfit. Other than the wireless microphone, it did.

He told stories, and recited poems. One story was centered in Soldier Hollow in the 1870s. It was a farm owned by the Vincent’s. Mrs Vincent, a widow with young children was behind on her mortgage. The bank wanted to foreclose. The night before the deadline she gave a meal and a place to sleep to a wandering cowboy.

How much is the mortgage?

It’s $2,000. And if I don’t raise it by tomorrow I lose the farm.

Wait here.

The cowboy went to his saddlebags and pulled out $2000 in cash. He insisted the widow take it to save the farm.

It’s probably a true story. The wandering cowboy was Robert LeRoy Parker. He’s better known as Butch Cassidy. Parker was born in Beaver, Utah. He picked his last name from a friend he met while growing up. His first name, Butch came from the fact that he was a butcher for a period of time.

The second entertainment act was a guitar player named Brayden Weese. His partner was a fiddler player named Eric. Brayden and Eric put on a great show. They played and sang classic train songs; Orange Blossom Special, The Wreck Of The Old 97 along with other songs like Jambalaya. The fact that I knew every song they sang was probably an indication that either they were targeting too old an audience, or those songs are universal.

Like everything, the train ride was different with COVID. We were socially distanced. We wore masks. And we got off the train one group at a time. By the time we entered the depot, Brayden and Eric were setup with an open guitar case and playing for tips.

Of course they have Venmo. Who carries cash anymore? It was a strange image to see the old time train cars, masks and using smartphones to tip street musicians. What a strange world we live in.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2021 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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