I had never been on a mine tour until my kids were in school.
I was the bus driver that took the tour to the local coal mine museum.
Along with having a picnic lunch on an old train, and walking through the museum, we got to take a ride into the mine. I remembered my grandfather talking about working in the mines when he was six years old. They would hold his feet while he crawled into holes and set the dynamite that would bring down the coal and open new shafts. I almost cried when I thought about my six-year-old grandfather being stuffed in a hole barely big enough for him. The darkness was so dark that you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. When we descended into the mine, it wasn’t just dark, but it got colder the further we went. Most of the kids had coats, but I had nothing. I was picturing my grandfather being cold, hungry, and scared, but still doing his job. There were heaters in the walls that were keeping us fairly warm, but they didn’t have heaters back then. There were electric lights that turned on once we got into the mine, but they didn’t have electric lights then. Without the electricity, we wouldn’t have the heaters that helped to keep us from screaming from cold and fear. I nearly screamed when they turned off the lights, but the small amount of heat from the heaters gave me some comfort. There was no comfort for the small boy I pictured in the crawlspace that could have been my grandfather.