This story was taken place in a small Coal Town in PA. in 1955. The "old company" as it was known had 7 deep mines & also 4 huge breakers. Some 6000 men were employed by the LNC all supporting the main product, Anthracite Coal. Annual production exceeded 4 million tons per year.
Summer my dad & I picked coal off a culm bank near our house. Winters we kids enjoyed sledding on the hills surrounding the town. There were 6 regular riders. One of our buddies was a lil guy called Duelly. Duelly had 1 arm missing below the elbow. He had found a blasting cap on a culm bank & it exploded. His arm was amputated. His dad was killed in a mine accident. The family consisted of 13 kids.
Five of us kids had sleds except Dulley. We used to take turns riding double with Dulley. One Saturday we were sledding near the #6 blacksmith shop which was the bottom of the hill where we landed. Old Ben, the forman had been watching us & asked why the one armed kid didn't have a sled of his own. Dulley told him about his dad dying & his mom was now working in a shirt factory, so there was little money. Ben said you kids come here next Saturday around noon. Expecting candy, we were on time. Line up, Ben said & gave us all some candy then he handed Dulley a rope & Dulley asked, what's the rope for? Ben then hollared to Sam in the Blacksmith Shop to bring it out, & there appeared a brand new sled, the runners were black and all wood was bright red. Duelly was stunned, he couldn't believe it. He was so happy to be like the rest of his friends. From then on we always visited with Ben when we went sledding.
A TRUE STORY! MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL. Jack from Coaldale