So I love sweet drops of rest. I love a good thunderstorm. When it rains I sleep like a new born baby that's nursing on it's mother's breast milk. I am full and content and the world is my oyster. However, one day, many years ago, a thunderstorm caught me by surprise. I lived in an area called the corn belt. Life was good, jobs were plenty; everyone could get a job. The home offices of major farm implement companies were in the area. John Deere was there and so was International Harvester. The Case Company was nearby. They all make tractors and combines. I could look out my window and see the smoke billowing from their foundry's. Blacks folks could even get a job. Some of the work was very hot and very dangerous.
The Companies raw materials and finished products were transported by railways and river barges. The barges could be a nuisance. The bridges on the Mississippi river had to be raised so they could pass through. I hated the trains, there were hundreds of them and many of them passed through the city.
Having lived in the area for some time, I sort of became accustom to delays, sort of. Well, I knew the times in which each manufacturer would likely be shipping out large orders. Train traffic slows down at night, the loud whistles can disturb the peace. Without failure, early in the morning the loud roar of train engines and their warning whistles permeated the air. On my usual route I had to cross three different train intersections but I had a plan worked out. A plan of action was necessary because these were not small engines and several were used in unison to pull hundreds of box cars. Waiting for a train to pass could mean being late for work and the boss didn't play that. My plan involved timing.
One day my lover, Mrs. Thunderstorm didn't love me anymore. Well, she threw a wrench in my game. Did I mention the fact that the area is frequently visited by tremendous tornadoes? Yep, it is. One morning while I was on my way to work, my progress was impeded by trees in the street and downed power lines. I could weave through the down branches and drifting garbage cans but trains were stalled across several tracks. A tornado had come through overnight - my time schedule was shot. I became annoyed waiting in line and decided to take a different route. My lack of patience took me to a place I will never forget.
I thought I'd be clever and go through the white part of town where the trains were not so prevalent. It was a longer route but I thought I could gain time if I didn't get arrested for being a black man on the wrong side of town.
Don't most funerals take place in the afternoon? I didn't know what was going on but I turned a corner and again I was stopped by a long line of cars. This time a funeral procession was passing. The deceased was in a horse drawn carriage. I didn't know the name of the deceased but the person was popular -very popular! There must have been five hundred followers. So, while waiting, I noticed a pay phone. I got out of my car and called my employer. I told him I was going to be late and might as well take the morning off.
As my patience wore thin, my curiosity peeked. I was wondering who this person could be that had so much family or so many friends. I decided to follow the procession to where ever they were going. After driving several miles it was obvious this was not your ordinary run of the meal type person. I found myself in a secluded area. I parked away from the gathering crowds and slowly approached them. They all were dressed in strange attire - several were crying. One said if the deceased had only waited he'd still be alive. Others questioned if he jumped to his death. I stuck out like a sore thump but I had to find out the identity of this person. I walked closer to the crowd that had gather around an open casket. At first I thought the person had died from a broken heart because I heard one saying "all of those men couldn't put him back together". When I heard another say that he had no business going up there, I realized he had fallen to his death .
As I was about to peek my head through the crowd to get a look at the person, I heard children begin to sing. I thought I heard the words king and horses, then I heard the sounds of car horns. The children continued:
..." Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall/ Humpty Dumpty had a great fall/ all the kings horse and all the kings men/ couldn't put Humpty back together
I woke up to the sounds of someone taping on my car window. I was still in my car waiting at the train tracks. Sweet drops of rest. The thought of a passing thunderstorm must have put me to sleep and my impatience took me on a ride to Humpty Dumpty's funeral. I can't wait for another thunderstorm. Maybe next time I'll be the president of the United States. Well, maybe I should think about that?