Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Fields of Coal

In last Saturday’s newspaper, there was a story about how some people might be wishing for coal in their stocking.

While in college I worked for the highway department for a man named Pinky who during the Depression had worked for the state highway department delivering coal. It seemed that the man they called the Senator, even though he had resigned his office upon being indicted, for being the leader of the largest bootlegging operation in the United States, had designed an elaborate welfare scheme. The bootlegging trial lasted six months. The Senator was convicted but before he could be sentenced, the President granted a general amnesty.

The owners of the coalmines needed the political support of the Senator. So he asked them for a favor. He asked that every truck he arranged to arrive at their coalmines be loaded with coal at no charge. The Senator then arranged for state highway department trucks driven by state highway employees to pick up the coal and deliver the coal to designated isolated fields in our county and deposited. During the winter, people who needed coal would be told where they could go to pick up coal to heat their homes. I was told by Pinky this scheme continued throughout the Depression up to the beginning of World War II.

When I read Luke’s Parable of the Unjust Steward, I think about the Senator. Nixon visited him during his first Presidential campaign. It was the only stop he made in our county. The Senator died in 1965.

Copyrighted 2005


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