After a 6 months absents from Canton I went back for a couple of months to work some jobs with Saturday and Sunday off. On my local C41 to Massillon I had the NS 5356 as a single unit. Once inside the cab I knew we were once very close friends. The FRA card answered my question. Yep, the Conrail 8211 the conductor was still in the yard office so we discussed how things are now and the good times we shared, just her and I alone on HLP 40C. The many nights we went to Big Run and waited for the 14,000 COPI to show up. We talked about tipping the hill at Smithville going west and hearing the detector going off at Sherve knowing that we would be arriving the same time and making this a quick move because the mosquitoes are always bad at the Run in the summer. She reminded me how she and one of she sisters pushed like hell to the top of the hill. I could put the seat back and take it easy till I heard the engine starting to relax. I notched off to # 4 across the flats then tore into it again for Massillon Hill. We talked about me bring the latest issue of MR and getting some good articles read while in the clear. I almost didn't recognize her with the new black dress and white eye liner. She was proud she had kept the same old voice box hanging outside over the cab. She sounded like the same old girl to me. She also reminded me about the time we lifted the 16,000 ton GRB grain train off the hill without a single slip. I honestly don't remember us doing that but, she must have. I looked her over inside and out. The inner guts were clean, the cab was nice and the toilet was good shape also. She was disappointed about all the places she used to go in Canton now gone. Republic Steel although open is almost dead. Danner press, White Engines. Diebolds all gone. She was a little older now with a little vibration from the main generator. She said she's gotten by the last 4 years but misses the good times we had over the years hauling stowaways and doing what she done best. She ask if I still had all the roster slides I had take of her over the years wearing a fresh coat of blue paint. She said if she gets a scratch she could still bleed a little blue blood. I think she is content wearing her new black dress. I spotted a little cancer from inside the nose facing toward the fireman's door below the battery box. After shutting her down tonight and driving out of the parking lot she was silent but still happy to have survived all these years.
PS She did remind me she is 26 years old now.