One week ago, in honor of the first 1000 Days of my quit, our Friend, Mike n @lanta, sent me a story he had written about me! Today with permission from him I am posting this tribute to share with all of you! I hope you all can find something useful here as you make your own transition! I wish everyone FREEDOM! Tommy
I haven’t always been what I am today. This is a good life without all the smoke & the complications it brings. But let me begin elsewhere.
I was a smoke burning engine pulling tobacco cars out of North Carolina. I was new, strong & full of myself. I could do anything& loved pullin those tobacco cars. Every day 20-30 were nothing for me. If things got in a bind I just bucked up& pulled more. Those should have been good years for me & I honestly thought they were. But times change & tobacco was getting old for me. I wanted something else…didn’t know what but while I was searching I continued my same old routine.
I was making a tobacco run one evening & ran into one of those electric trains. Man that thing was slick. So quiet with no rumbling& wheezing in the engine. I remember thinking it would be nice to be without all the smoke & soot sticking to me not to mention what those things were doing to my insides. I struck up a conversation with him & found that he’d been just like me. He worked really hard all alone & refitted himself with the electric engine. It had taken him years to get it right & thought he could have done better with a little help. He called himself a Freedom Train. Free from all that smoke. So we finally said goodbye& parted ways. I didn’t know how I would do it, I had no plan & didn’t know where to start but I swore to myself that one day that would be me.
After so many years life gets in the way & you kinda forget about things you thought were important to you. One day, you look around& wonder what happened to your life. The change had always been in the back of my mind but I just kept on putting it off.
Once again I crossed paths with another electric that called themselves a Freedom Train. This time I made sure that I knew how they did it. They had come across a place called EX of all things. Everything was free. They provided all of the tools & any parts I would need. I only had to do the work myself. There were many at EX that were more than happy to show me how. They were always there when I needed anything at all. They were there when I was frustrated at the task & kept me from giving up. It would be so much more worth the whole ordeal to stick with it they told me.
It took some time but I was finally outfitted with my new parts. I was electric & no smoke & soot tarnished me inside or out. Trying to get used to it I would occasionally think it too tough & want my old parts back but I just couldn't let my new friends down at EX.
Now it’s been 1000 days since my changeover. I’m comfortable with my new body. Yeah there was damage from so many years pulling those tobacco cars but I can’t dwell on that. All I can do is try to better myself & pay back what was given to me. It was a formidable task in the beginning but I got it done & work on myself continually.
They arrive at EX by the hundreds every day wanting to change. Most can’t come up with the courage to do the work but the few that do reward us with their efforts. Some even stay to help out. We’re proud of every single Freedom Train here. We’re all so grateful for what was given us & just wouldn’t feel right without giving back. We’d be rotting in an old rail yard by now if we hadn’t found EX.