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Slim & Stumpy at Piute's
Slim & Stumpy Visit the
© George C. Thomas 1999

It happened the other evening, just as it had happened before. When the old gibbous moon was high in the sky and someone in Circleville, Ohio was playing “The City of New Orleans” on the radio, Slim and Stumpy entered the plastic-plasma phase and began to “connect.” Slim is a 1:20 figure on “Engineer” Jeff Saxton’s Winona & Thorny Mountain RR in St. Louis, Missouri, and Stumpy is a short 1:20 figure on George Thomas’ Lazy Acre Lumber Company RR in Delran, New Jersey. Just why the old gibbous moon and “The City of New Orleans” are important is unclear, but Circleville, Ohio, is about halfway between St. Louis and Delran. Perhaps that is explanation enough.

When Slim and Stumpy “connect” they plan to visit a great model railroad. They had already enjoyed visiting each others railroads, the Winged Foot & Western, and the Toenail Ridge Shortline, so on this particular evening they wanted to choose one that was completely different.

“We haven’t been out to Colorado yet. That's narrow gauge heaven. How about John Crandall’s Big Yawn and Overbite Railway in Denver?” suggested Slim.

“Wait a minute. Is that the BYOB that has the High Bridge just like on the Georgetown Loop Railroad?” asked Stumpy. “I’m not all that crazy about heights.”

“I guess that explains why you’re so short . . . ”

“Cut that out! That’s no way to talk to a friend, especially since I’m the one that saved you after you had too much to drink when we visited the Toenail Ridge Railway down in Australia,” said Stumpy. (See their previous adventure.)

“Yeah, I remember. That was just after I rescued you when you were flirting with that seamstress.”

“OK, OK, enough. I’ll go. Lead the way.”

So Slim and Stumpy went out to Denver, Colorado. They were tempted to stop by Caboose Hobbies, but they knew if they did they might never get to the BYOB. One can loose all track of time in a good hobby store.

It didn’t take long for them to find the BYOB. After all, there aren’t many backyards in Denver, or anywhere else for that matter, with tons of stone and dirt piled up in them. That John Crandall sure took his large scale railroading seriously.

Slim and Stumpy were walking along the track when they heard a train coming up behind them. It was a short freight. They flagged it down and the kindly engineer stopped just a little bit ahead of them. When they ran up to it they saw a man sitting on the back of the tender. They hoped he was in a friendly mood. He had a rifle.

“You guys aimin' to walk off with some 'sooviners'?” the man asked.

“Why no, sir,” stammered Slim. “I’m Slim, and my friend here is called Stumpy. We heard a lot of good things about the BYOB, and came all the way from Missouri and New Jersey just to visit it.”

“Howdy,” added Stumpy, in his usual friendly manner.

“Well howdy to you, too,” answered the guy on the tender, impressed at the distance they had traveled to see his railroad. “I'm Piute. Why don’t you two climb up into the gondola and we’ll take you for a tour of the BYOB.”

“OK,” answered Stumpy. He grabbed the grab irons (that’s what they’re for!) and was soon standing in the gondola. Slim, on the other hand, paused to appreciate the splendid view. Stumpy, sensing that Piute wasn't amused by Slim's dawdling attitude, eyed the rifle uneasily.

“Hey,” shouted Piute. “We’re burning daylight. This may be a short freight, but it still has a long way to go.” Stumpy relaxed and smiled when Piute laughed at his use of short and long.

Slim quickly complied, and the train was soon on its way. The ride was smooth and uneventful until they arrived at High Bridge. Stumpy, fearing this very moment, did what had to be done. He closed his eyes. Piute looked at him with questioning eyes. When Slim shrugged and smiled, Piute started to laugh. And laugh. Slim quickly joined him. Poor Stumpy. But better to be laughed at for closing his eyes than to be humiliated for dirtying a fairly clean set of duds.

“Wow,” said Slim. “I bet if I spit it would take several minutes to hit the bottom.”

“Make that hours,” laughed Piute. “Clear Creek is 95 feet below us.”

Stumpy kept his eyes closed and pictured evil things happening to both Slim and Piute. At one point a smile actually appeared on his face, much to the bewilderment of his two fellow travelers. At last the trestle was behind them and Stumpy could again enjoy the ride. After a while they arrived in a little town.

“Welcome to Big Yawn,” said Piute. “Overbite is at the other end of the line.”

Stumpy thought that Big Yawn and Overbite were super names for towns. Colorado sure was different from his native New Jersey.

A small dog seemed to appear from nowhere. “Meet Ophir,my faithful companion,” said Piute. A wagging tail told Slim and Stumpy that Ophir was a friendly dog. Both of them thought about the dogs that were a part of their railroads back home. Dogs and trains just seem to go together.

While Slim and Stumpy were playing with Ophir a jug of corn lick'r mysteriously appeared. Then the stories began to be shared as the jug was passed around. Piute talked about his many Colorado railroading adventures; mountains and snow make for very entertaining tales.

And Slim and Stumpy reciprocated with tales about their own Winona & Thorny Mountain and the Lazy Acre railroads. The trip “downunder” to the Toenail Ridge Shortline in Australia sounded like fun, and Piute laughed when they told about their strange adventure on the 1:48 Winged Foot & Western RR, especially when he thought about Stumpy being a “giant.”

And then the jug was empty and Slim and Stumpy realized it was time to depart for their respective homes. They bid adieu to Piute, their new railroad friend. He couldn’t have been a nicer host for their visit to the BYOB. (That's not unusual in this fine hobby of ours.)

They walked down the track and around the bend on the outskirts of Big Yawn. Their adventure was about to come to an end. Saying good-bye to Piute had not been easy; it was even more difficult for these two railroad buddies.

“When and where will I see you next?” asked Slim.

“Who knows. It’s up to the moon and a beautiful railroad song. There are plenty of other fine layouts to visit.”

“You got that right, little buddy,” said Slim. “Until next time.”

And so they both vanished into the cool, thin air of Colorado, heading eastward toward Missouri and New Jersey. But rest assured, Slim and Stumpy will meet again to make another layout visit. So fill your lick'r jugs, web site readers, it could be yours!

Enjoy the next Slim & Stumpy adventure
Visit the BYOB Ry. Co.
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