When they turned off the lights, I nearly screamed, but the small amount of heat from the boilers comforted me
I had never been on a mine tour before my children started school. I drove the tour group to the local coal mine museum as the bus driver. In addition to having a picnic breakfast on an old train and touring the museum, my friend and I had the opportunity to ride into the mine. As a six-year-old, my grandfather labored in the mines, as I recall him relating. They would hold his feet while he crawled into holes and set dynamite to bring down coal and open current shafts. When I imagined my six-year-old grandfather being stuffed into a hole barely large enough for him, I nearly wept. It was so dark that one could not see their hand in front of their face. When my friend and I descended into the mine, it was not only dark but also progressively colder as we descended. The majority of the children had coats, but I had none. I imagined my grandfather being cold, hungry, and terrified while performing his duties. There were boilers in the walls that kept us relatively warm, but boilers did not exist back then. There were electric lights that came on once my friend and I entered the mine, but there were no electric lights prior to our entrance. Without electricity, my friend and I would not have the boilers that kept us from shivering out of fear and frostbite. When they turned off the lights, I nearly screamed, but the small amount of heat from the boilers comforted me. There was no solace for the small boy I imagined to be my grandfather in the crawlspace.