WALSENBURG — Having recently spent several days working in the Huerfano County Courthouse, I have a new appreciation for the people who are so fortunate to work there every day. It’s no wonder security is so tight. That’s not necessarily to keep the bad guys out, it’s to keep the employees IN. The office I was working in has gigantic windows that face the railroad tracks. That looked quaint. And I love trains. I was always fascinated by the trains in western movies that robbers could run down on horseback. The trains that pass by the courthouse are up close and personal. I mean, the tracks looked to be about TEN FEET AWAY! I felt like I had been transported back in time a hundred and sixty-three years. Yes, this certainly promised to give me a glimpse into what life was like in the old west. Well, it turns out the old west wasn’t quite as quaint as one might imagine. And it got less and LESS quaint as successive trains came through town. Oh yes, multiple trains. All day long. At first you hear a slight rumble in the distance, sort of like the sound Santy Clause makes walking on your roof. Next thing you know, you hear BLAAAAAAASST! Rumble rumble rumble. BLAAAAAAASST! BLAAAAAAASST! Rumble RUMble RUMBLE. BLAAAAAAASST ! Man, hang on to your toupee and turn your hearing aid down. Someone told me there is a kit there in the courthouse with those shocker paddles that they use to restart your heart. It’s a good thing, because I swear my heart stopped every time a train came through. Fortunately, falling off my chair onto the floor restarted it without the need for paddles. And, the rumbling jarred my brain so thoroughly (being over 50 didn’t help) that I forgot how loud the train would be the next time it came through, so each time was like the FIRST time. This is a kind of torture that the medieval Masters of Torment would have been proud of. The earthquake caused by the train going by made my guts vibrate. But the amazing thing is, the people who work in the courthouse are used to the earthquakes and the blasts of the trains. It doesn’t appear to bother them one bit, and one person told me that sometimes they don’t even NOTICE it. I kid you not. These hardy folks could carry on a conversation even while the rumbling and blasting were rattling the windows. I swear, their lips were moving, but I couldn’t hear a WORD! It seems they have developed a sort of selective hearing – you know, like the kind your spouse has that filters out only YOUR voice. They didn’t hear the train blasts, just the good old language of Huerfano. Hey, you gotta admire the survival instinct of Huerfanos. They can adapt to anything.
Raton hosts training for field and wild land firefighters by Lillian Eva