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Bob Lind, Published March 07 2011

Lind: The Goose and grapes of wrath

A recent Neighbors item told of the Northern Pacific depot agent in Verona, N.D., who in the late 1940s and early 1950s would load farmers’ cream cans on the Galloping Goose branchline train for shipping to a creamery in Lakeville, Minn.

The agent’s name was Nick Weiler. Neighbors now has an e-mail from Patty Sullivan of Woodbury, Minn. She is Nick’s daughter.

Patty writes that the family lived in Verona for some time and then moved to LaMoure in the mid-1950s, although her father continued to serve as Verona’s depot agent.

“I’m not sure of the year,” she says, “but he was honored for stopping a possible collision of two trains that were heading for each other.

“My father died in 1959 at the all-too-young age of 49,” she writes.

And Patty remembers the Goose.

“I remember riding it from LaMoure to Verona every week for my piano lesson,” she says.

Grapes led to wrath

Here’s another story about a branchline train and how a ride on it earned a donation to a Sunday School.

Phyllis (Mosher) Kannowski writes that she and her family, now of Corpus Christi, Texas, lived in Grand Forks in 1997-98 and were flooded out. But Phyllis grew up in Cooperstown, N.D.

“We had a branchline that ran from Valley City to Mose (near Binford),” she writes. “My father always called the train the ‘Dinky.’

“When I was about 5,” Phyllis says, “I would go by train to Dazey to stay a few days with my great-grandmother and aunt. My mother made me memorize all the stops: Shepard, Hannaford, Walum and then Dazey.

“Once Mother must have thought I would starve before I got there because she packed a lunch for me in a shoe box.

“I opened it and was eating a bunch of grapes when the conductor came for my ticket. He asked if he could have a few grapes, and I said I would sell him a few for a dime.

“He thought it was funny, and the sale was made.

“He also knew my parents and told them about it. They were not amused. In fact, I’m sure the dime went into the collection plate at Sunday School the next Sunday.”

At least it went to a good cause, Phyllis.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to 241-5487; or e-mail blind@forumcomm.com