The mine became cold and dark as we descended

I had never been on a mine tour until my teenagers were in university. I drove the tour bus to the local coal mine museum. We got to ride into the mine in addition to having a picnic dinner on an old train and walking through the museum. When my Grandpa was six years old, he told me about working in the mines. They would hold his feet while he crawled into holes and detonated the dynamite that would bring down the coal and open up new shafts. When I thought about my six-year-old Grandpa being stuffed in a hole that was barely pressing enough for him, I almost burst into tears. The darkness was so dense that you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. It wasn’t just dark when we descended into the mine, it also got colder the deeper we went. The majority of the teenagers wore coats, but I didn’t. I imagined my Grandpa being cold, hungry, and scared while still performing his duties. There were boilers in the walls that kept us reasonably warm, but they didn’t have boilers back then. When we entered the mine, the electric lights turned on, but they didn’t have any at the time. We would not have had the boilers that kept us from screaming in fear and cold without electricity. I nearly screamed when they turned off the lights, but the small amount of heat from the boilers provided some comfort. There was no solace for the small boy I imagined in the crawlspace, who could have been my Grandpa.


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