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Only on the Midnights

It was summer and we were working the midnight shift. It was one of those hot, sultry summer nights when the humidity hung in a thick, soupy unmoving manner.

I had met up with the troubleshooters at a switching location at the far end of the service territory.  The location, a designated two-man area, was in a section that was a mix of multiple dwelling buildings and commercial spaces that had known better days. It was an area where you had to maintain a high level of awareness and be prepared for any type of unpleasant occurrence.

We were a couple of hours into the shift, the night was quiet and still.  Even the sound of our voices and the diesel engines was muted by the dense humidity. The three of us were talking and preparing to call in the moves when there was a strange sound.  It was not something to set off an alarm but something different, unfamiliar.

It got a bit louder by the moment. Aside from the silhouettes of the buildings and the streetlights shining through hazy air, nothing was visible. As it got closer and louder, its tone and rhythm became more recognizable. But, not for this place.

Suddenly, the steady cadence of beats gave way to their source as two grand stallions broke through the thick cloud of humid air, side by side. It was like a scene from a western movie. The horses were quite the sight and being ridden by two men.  The riders cut an imposing figure in their western-style attire and riding upon these majestic animals, especially in this urban setting.

They were members of the Black Cowboys of Brooklyn New York (NYC Federation of Black Cowboys) whose stables were close by. While talking with them we learned that one of the riders was a coworker that worked with the Red Wagon troubleshooters in another division and, that, his brother was with the Red Wagons in our group.

It was not unknown to us that this group existed or that their home base was around the area, but to meet up with these folks at such an hour, in such a setting was an unexpected and unforgettable experience.

And then, they rode off into…the haze.

Terry Bellew – Lineman, Instructor, Writer

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