A.A. Perry

Perry Family, 1958


A.A. Perry

I was just a green, backwoods, country boy, 16 years, when the first passenger train nosed into Mena and I felt like I was being introduced to the outside world.  I was in the throng of spectators that lined the K.C.P. & G. track, standing in dust shoe mouth deep, for it was an exceedingly dry, hot, summer day.

The track on either side was lined for hundreds of yards and people stood toeing the track.  There were gray-haired men and women there on that day who had never seen a railroad train.  When the old steam locomotive nosed around the bend the people began to inch back.  When it came in front of the crowd it could have turned over without hurting anyone, except perhaps the train crew.

For several years Mena really put on a celebration.  The businessmen contributed liberally to furnish free entertainment to the people.  Of course, it came much cheaper in those days.  There were just two days for me during those years, Christmas and the 19th of August.  My family paid little attention to Thanksgiving, Fourth of July, and other holidays.  I sincerely hope the celebration that day may be brought back to resemble the glory of those times.  It was a great reunion for the people of Mena and Polk County, and drew old timers and people from other states.

© Shirley Manning 2004