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11/18/2009 – Editorials

By Richard Peterson

Bob Lind, who writes a column in The Forum has received many reminiscences about The Goose, sometimes known as the Galloping Goose, a diesel train which had many clones. I thought the Goose which ran from Jamestown to Leeds daily was the only one, but there were many, all over North Dakota and probably all over the US.

Terry E. Peterson of West Fargo wrote to Lind, telling of his memories. "We lived close to the Great Northern tracks while growing up in north Fargo in the 1950s and 1960s," he wrote.

"A big thrill was when we were given a ride on the put-put. This would really make the day for a young kid," Peterson writes.

Peterson continues, "We would take the Aneta line from Fargo to Warwick to my uncle’s farm (Thor Peterson) to visit with my cousins and do some farm work. The train went another 20 miles on to Devils Lake.

"The train would stop at every small town from Page to Tolna to pick up mail, cream cans, passengers and other treasures. Pulling off on a side track was very common to let the ‘fast freights’ have the tracks," he wrote.

"One of my many uncles, Ingemund Peterson, farmed next to the track in Warwick. No matter what time the train pulled up to the depot, he would be on his tractor cutting hay or performing another of the many chores that had to be done on the farm. He asked me what hours I worked. I replied ‘7 a.m. to 3 p.m.’ He replied, ‘Oh, you work a half-day.’ "

Well, Terry said, the long hours Uncle Ingemund put in on the farm obviously didn’t hurt him; he lived to be more than 110.

Peterson’s aunt, Edith Wallace of Warwick said she also made a trip from Warwick to Fargo. "It took about eight to 10 hours to make that ride . . . (because The Goose) stopped at every small town to pick up cream cans and anything else that people wanted to ship. This was a great time, just a little slower than today."

Terry Peterson wrote about him riding the put-put and it made his day. Ya, it would make the day of an OSHA inspector, too, because it was completely against the rules — although back then the rules weren’t taken too seriously, and OSHA probably wasn’t even in existence at the time.

The put-put was actually a speeder. A small self-propelled machine the section crews used to use in getting back and forth on the tracks to do maintenance work on the tracks. This is a real antique. I haven’t seen a speeder for many years and local section crews are also a thing of the past.

I certainly remember the Galloping Goose coming through Minnewaukan daily except Sunday. It went from Jamestown to Leeds one day and then returned to Jamestown the following day, stopping at every depot along the way to pick up and deliver mail, cream and smaller freight items called "baggage express."

The Goose was described in the Minnewaukan History Book as a single-unit, self-propelled, diesel-electric motor car manned by three persons — engineer, conductor and baggageman. Directly behind the engine is a 15-foot mail compartment, followed by space for baggage express, milk and cream. There follows a passenger section for 30 persons.

The Goose quit running from Jamestown to Leeds in September of 1960 after the US Postal Service hired trucks to handle the mail. I suppose most of The Geese in other areas quit running about the same time.

Writing in the Hatton Free Press, Kaye Novak tells a little bit about her trip to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

"Mayo is a huge facility. If you have never been there, it’s an eye opening experience. The workers who are employed at the clinic and hospital are so nice and helpful. In Rochester, Mayo Clinic occupies approximately 15 million square feet, about 2.9 times the size of the Mall of America.

"On a typical day at Mayo Clinic there are 5,764 outpatient visits; 205 surgical procedures; 3,779 radiology procedures; 702 x-rays; 241 admissions to the hospital; 41,000 lab tests, 647 CT scans and 244 MRIs."

Rep. Earl Pomeroy voted for the health "reform" bill which narrowly passed the House a couple weeks ago. The bill is flawed, but I don’t fault Pomeroy for voting for it to at least keep some type of bill alive.

You have to understand that the bill passed by the House is not the final bill. The Senate has to pass its own health care reform bill.

Then a House-Senate conference committee will attempt to meld the two bills into one bill. Then both the House and the Senate will have to pass this bill, and that isn’t at all certain. Then it will go to the president, who has the power of veto. By the time the bill gets to the president, it won’t look anything like the bill passed by the House.

I have little confidence that we are going to get any meaningful health care reform. With conservatives insisting that the health insurance industry continue its stranglehold on the system, there is no way to cut costs. Health insurance premiums will continue rising about 10 percent per year and millions will remain uninsured. But maybe some good can come from the new health care "reform." I’m willing to wait and see.

What we really need is for everyone to be covered by Medicare. Each head of household under age 65 would have to pay an insurance premium of something like $400 per month to Medicare. There would probably have to be a federal subsidy for low income people. It would be — horrors! — socialism, but it would be a lot better than what we have now, with the health insurance industry skimming off billions for profits and inflated executive salaries. Conservatives scream "socialism!" and refuse to consider almost all real reform.

Let’s be realistic. Social Security is socialism. So are Medicare and Medicaid. How about our government-owned road system? Socialism, pure and simple. Isn’t it awful?

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