Now that we have gotten to know Author Diane Burkhour a little better, lets take a peek inside the world of Mrs. North and The Train Engineer.
“Roy, oh Roy,” Mrs. North called out to him several hours later. His back was to her as he concentrated on his work. “Here, I figured you needed to take a break. You’ve been working so hard. I brought you some watermelon.”
Roy turned around, and Mrs. North handed him a plate with a fat slice of red, juicy watermelon.
Just then, off in the distance they heard the faint whistle of a train’s steam engine. Roy’s head jerked up towards the sound. A sad look came over his face, which didn’t escape Mrs. North’s attention. The whistle faded off into the distance.
“Go on and sit down over there in the shade and enjoy it.”
Roy couldn’t speak. He nodded his head in thanks as his eyes became misty. It had been a long time since anyone had treated him with such kindness.
“Oh, the shutters look beautiful. You really are a good painter,” she told him, quite pleased.
“I’m just about done with them, and then I’ll do your front door. That shouldn’t take long,” he told her in between taking bites of the luscious watermelon.
“Oh good. That should be perfect timing then. Sounds like you’ll be done in time for supper.”
Mrs. North disappeared once more into the house with the empty plate. She began to season the chicken, prepare the vegetables and peel the potatoes as she hummed to herself.
Roy had finished painting and everything was cleaned up and put back into place. He walked up to the kitchen screen door. He could hear Mrs. North’s humming, teedum-teedum twiddle deedum. He peeked in as he raised his hand to knock. No, it couldn’t be! The kitchen broom was dancing around the kitchen on its own. Roy took a step back. He closed his eyes and rubbed them. “I must have been out in the sun to long.”
He drew in a deep breath, and looked inside again. Everything seemed to be normal. Yep, there was the broom standing in a corner against the wall. He knocked.
Mrs. North came to let him in. “Oh, all done, are you? Good! Good! Now I’m going to start frying up this chicken, so why don’t you go into the bathroom and clean up. Take a good hot bath. I put some clean towels out for you. There’s a spare bedroom next to the bathroom. I put your canvas bag in there.”
Once again, all Roy could do was nod. He didn’t quite know what to make of this tiny, white- haired, cheerful woman. How could she be so trusting?
He went into the spare bedroom to get his razor. On the bed was a pair of brand new overalls, and a new denim shirt just his size. “How the heck?” he mumbled, as he shook his head in disbelief. And that wasn’t all. Hanging on a chain from the center of the ceiling was a replica of an old railroad lantern serving as a light. Roy just stood staring, shaking his head back and forth.
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