10 A Call to Action

by admin on October 14, 2011

Samuel began a series of phone calls.  His voice was strong, determined.  He was in full-fledged business mode.  Charles watched with a grin as his father assumed command.  The first call went to the Lake Neccudah passenger terminal.  “Two tickets to Burlington.  Yes, today.  Well, make room!”  “Dammit.  This is SAMUEL DUNWELL!” he bellowed.  “ Thank you.” he calmly replied.

Next call was to the Athearn Hotel in Burlington.  Then came the call to William Jennings, the station master in Burlington.  He had met Jennings when negotiating freight rates with the Union Pacific back in the old days. “Jennings?” “Dunwell here.” he said.  “I’d like you to arrange transportation to the Athearn for some family members of mine.”  “Yes, Bingham’s their name.”

“Charles and I will be arriving on the # 212, leaving 6:00 o’clock out of Denver, should be there at 9:49 P.M. this evening.  Thanks, Jennings.”  Will Jennings hung up the phone and went into the passenger terminal to get the Binghams.  “Got a call from Sam Dunwell, wants me to take you to the Athearn in town.  He’ll be arriving tonight at 9:49 from Denver” Jennings told Harold.  Bewildered, Harold and Ida just looked at each other.

A porter helped pile their suitcases into Jennings’ old pickup truck.  Jennings, Harold, and Ida scrunched into the front seat.   There wasn’t enough room left in the cab so the two youngsters climbed into the back with the suitcases.  For the young boys this was awesome, a real Wild West adventure.  They had never experienced anything like this in all their lives.  It was a short ride to the hotel, but the sights and sounds of the West surrounded them and filled them with amazement.  There were cattle as big as houses and horses tied to hitching posts, and cowboys in boots and, oh, their little heads were just swirling.

The Athearn was a stately old hotel.  She was built to accommodate the well to do on their journey Westward during the late 1880’s.  Although showing signs of her age, she was still regal in an era when cheap looking motels had started to spring up.  Regardless, the Binghams were awestruck.  The hotel porter unloaded the boys and the suitcases from the back of Jennings’ truck.  Will Jennings bid the Binghams a “Good Night” as he turned and left the hotel.  The porter pushed the luggage cart into the hotel as Harold, Ida, and sons followed him into the lobby.  The hotel was even more impressive on the inside, if that was possible.  The grandeur of the Old West was everywhere.  Original Remington paintings graced the rough-hewed wooden walls.  Bison, elk, and moose heads adorned the Great Hall.  A huge fireplace, one that you could stand up in, dominated the far wall.  For the family of a coal mining steel worker from England this surely must be heaven.

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