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Surplus Train Rides or--Travel In The Age Of Plenty

Economist at Fayetteville, Arkansas

It was a sunny afternoon

At story-telling time.

Old Kaspar settled in his chair

and poured a rum-and-lime,

While Peterkin and Wilhelmine

Looked at the futurama screen.

 

They saw a long and winding stretch

Of rusty railroad tracks,

And multitudes who trudged along

With baggage on their backs;

While others turned aside to eat

Or rest with elevated feet.

 

"Why don’t those people drive their cars?"

Asked little Peterkin.

"Because they’re in a hurry, Pete,"

Said Kaspar with a grin.

"The traffic jams have grown so thick

That walking now is twice as quick."

 

"Why aren’t there trains for people now?"

Asked little Wilhelmine.

"The railroads have them," Kaspar said,

"But now they’re seldom seen.

The idle coaches gather rust

While people walk in mud or dust."

 

"There was a time," Old Kaspar sighed,

"When railway fares were cheap,

Before the unions came of age

And taxes took a leap;

But now a ride is priced too high

For ordinary folks to buy."

 

"How will it end," asked Peterkin,

"Will everybody walk?"

"Why, as to that," Old Kaspar said,

"Already there is talk

Of handing out a Subsidy

To railroads hauling people free."

H.P.B. Jenkins

H. P. B. JENKINS, 1902-1963. Following active service in the European Theater during World War II, Dr. Harry Jenkins taught Economics in the College of Business Ad­ministration at the University of Arkansas. Many will best remember him as author of the "Old Kasper" communiques, carried continuously in THE FREEMAN since February 1959.


Dr. Jenkins was stricken and died while walking home from graduation ceremonies on the campus, January 26, 1963.

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