Letters to My Granddaughter, No. 70

[May 5, 2024] Two loud, sharp toots from the locomotive followed by the railroad Conductor’s shouting ALL ABOARD.  This trip would be another exciting and fun time for the family.  Up to about the year 1970, the Missouri Pacific Railroad ran passenger trains.  The one we took was officially known as the Delta Eagle, “Eagle,” referring to their premier passenger service.  These trips were free for us in the early 1960s because our Dad worked on that railroad as a Telegrapher.

We were traveling to Little Rock, Arkansas, to visit our great Aunt Rea.  With our meager luggage and apprehensiveness, Mom, Philip, Terri, and me boarded about midnight into a standard passenger car.  Sleeping cars were an upgrade and not free.  Since we had little money, this would have to do.  On the plus side, these rail cars were spacious and gave me the space to run up and down the aisles, to my Mom’s embarrassment.  “Sit down here, Douglas and rest your head a bit.”  She must have been eyeing some unsavory-looking young men at the back of the car.  I was oblivious to any danger, just like any other young kid.

I must have fallen asleep at some point but awoke at each stop as passengers came and went.  I was amazed at these people.  Riding trains was not cheap, but it was the preferred mode of transport between major towns for long trips.  In those days, it was about a four-hour trip up north to Little Rock from our home.  Trains took longer, due to all the stops, but were safer.  As planned, we would arrive in the city sometime after breakfast to be picked up by Aunt Rea.

At one point, we slowed down to a crawl to pass by a major freight train derailment.  Lights from emergency services, smoke or steam from burning cars (who knew what was in them), a mishmash of noise, and an array of strong smells shocked us.  Thank goodness the crash didn’t involve our passenger train; this freight train being crushed like a tin can was terrible enough.  Everyone was at the windows glaring at the ghastly sight.  None of us had ever seen anything like it.  And I never heard anything about the crash; the news mainly came from newspapers.  Anyway, what kid read them anyway?

After passing the derailment, we were delayed a long time, but it was still early in the morning.  I was excited.  My imagination ran wild.  Maybe there would be a fistfight, an armed train robbery, or another train wreck.  Nope.  I had watched too many cowboy movies.  At another stop, we were required to exit the train with our baggage.  No explanation, okay, get back on.  Toot Toot, ALL ABOARD.  There were no cell phones, so our aunt had to wait at the train station, not knowing why our train was not on time.

Of course, all the delays had us arriving late to Little Rock, but Aunt Rea was there all smiles.  That perked us up after the trials of our journey.  Traveling in Aunt Rea’s car was wild with us, and our luggage was packed in like sardines and no seatbelts.  And she never obeyed speed limits.  That was fun.  We were all fast asleep when we arrived at her house.  We had fun.


NOTE: See all my letters here: https://www.theleadermaker.com/granddaughter-letters/


Please read my books:

  1. “55 Rules for a Good Life,” on Amazon (link here).
  2. “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

30 thoughts on “Letters to My Granddaughter, No. 70

  1. Adolf Menschner

    Another spectacular letter to Gen. Satterfield’s granddaughter and, by extension. to all his grandkids. We are a few days away from one full year of letters. Now, these are getting better and better. The storytelling is improved and I wanted to say thanks to Gen. S and his family for allowing us a peak into the good times and bad. Well done! 😊

  2. Lizzy from Utah

    Gen. Satterfield sure knows how to write a letter to his granddaughter. Gives me some good ideas too.

  3. Bryan Z. Lee

    From river camping trips, to fishing/hunting/playing army/parttime jobs/coondogs/cars/girlfriends, they all add up to a story of wonder for Gen. Satterfield’s grandkids to read. Whether it was him picking cotton, working summer jobs, or having an old 410 shotgun given to him from his grandfather, all these make for storytelling that is first rate.

    1. Melissa Jackson

      Yeah, makes you wonder what would have happened if he had been born somewhere else. What would have become of that little boy Satterfield.

      1. Wendy Holmes

        I was wondering the same. But it is just the marvel of reading these letters. And if anyone wants to go back and read them all at the same time, Gen. Satterfield has given us a link at the bottom of each letter. For new readers to this blog, I recommend that is where you start. Read these letters from No. 1 up to today.
        That way, you will understand better as you read them. And, you can also get Gen. Satterfield’s books that help you know where he is coming from too.

  4. Pen Q

    Let us not over look the reason that Gen. Satterfield is writing these letters. “I’ll give you some ideas about life; that is my responsibility and a noble undertaking, and I take that task seriously. And although your parents are doing a great job, there is nothing like a bit of help from the outside. Here I am, your Poppy (your name for me, your paternal grandfather), and I’m ready to do just that.” – Gen. Doug Satterfield in his own words. But I do think there is more to these letters. I think, IMHO, that Gen. Satterfield is trying to get a grasp on what were his own motivations and getting to understand them. Now that he is retired, for nearly a decade, he has more time to do so. That is something I would hope that I have time for myself.

    1. Idiot Savant

      Pen Q, true. I agree. But I read these letters to his granddaughter just for fun and entertainment.

  5. Lana Morrison

    Another excellent letter to “my granddaughter.” But what matters most here is that these letters could be to anybody’s grandchild. It matters not their age or upbringing, the stories and the lessons from them are those of any human who was raised right and who would eventually become a us army general. Let us not forget that he struggled from an early age, having little education (a cultural and personal choice) and soon recognized that he had a serious deficiency. These letters tell us how he saw what he was missing and what he did to overcome it. Gen. Satterfield, well done. I’m enjoying each letter, more each time I read them. ❤

    1. Paulette Johnson

      Lana, yes, these letters are both beautiful and loving. I’m really into these letters, now we are at # 70.

  6. Valkerie

    Letter No. 70. A new mark. Thank you Gen. Satterfield. Oh, BTW, I am an avid reader of your DAILY FAVORITES and I’m appreciating the articles you highlight on the violent anti-Semitism on college campuses. And I thought the Wokeness was going to be their downfall.

  7. Eye Cat

    A real adventure for a kid of the 1950s and 60s. “We were traveling to Little Rock, Arkansas, to visit our great Aunt Rea. With our meager luggage and apprehensiveness, Mom, Philip, Terri, and me boarded about midnight into a standard passenger car. Sleeping cars were an upgrade and not free. Since we had little money, this would have to do. On the plus side, these rail cars were spacious and gave me the space to run up and down the aisles, to my Mom’s embarrassment. “Sit down here, Douglas and rest your head a bit.” She must have been eyeing some unsavory-looking young men at the back of the car. I was oblivious to any danger, just like any other young kid.” – Gen. Doug Satterfield

    1. Army Vet

      Eye Cat, yeah, I agree. Gen. Satterfield has made it clear to us that he grew up in the back woods of Louisiana and that even there were no traffic lights in his small town. It was a slow-paced town with little to do. Then he slowly moved with his family and eventually lived in big cities and those places excited him and eventually drove him to join the US army.

  8. Stacey Borden

    Got to thinking which of these letters to his granddaughter were his favorite. I think it was the one about him watching the King Kong movie with his brother.

  9. Lynn Pitts

    Wow, beautiful letter. 💖 I love these letters.

    1. Pink Cloud

      I have to say that I do believe that is the case for most of us. And, Gen. Satterfield now has 70 of these letters and has now been writing them for almost a full year.

      1. Tom Bushmaster

        Right, Pink Cloud, the first letter was back on May 20, 2023 and on “being rich” which means he was rich in family, friends, neighborhood, and God, not in money.
        “Letters to My Granddaughter, No. 1
        Read that Letter if you are new here. it starts things off with a bang to set the stage for all his letters.

        1. James Earl Samson

          Thanks Tom, for the throwback. ✔✔✔

        2. Max Foster

          Here is my first letter to my eldest granddaughter. She is seven and the only grandchild who can read. The title might be a surprise. I was rich growing up. Yes, I was rich growing up. By the standards of that time, some 70 years ago, we were among the rich in the small town we grew up in. I was the oldest of four children. We lived in a tiny town in Northeast Louisiana with a population of about 300 families. We lived in a small house with a roof that did not leak except when it rained. There were no traffic lights, no movie theaters, and no grocery stores, but we did have three bars and two churches (one Southern Baptist and one Catholic). How did I know we were rich? The difference between rich and poor was clear for everyone to see. The rich had wooden doors and glass windows in their homes. The poor had screened doors and screened windows (no glass). In the poor’s’ homes, you could look through the walls and see from the front of the house into the backyard. We also lived on a paved one-lane road. The poor lived on dirt roads. Also, the rich had electricity and running water. The poor had lanterns and pumped their water. We lived in the Deep South, and there was no such thing as air conditioning; the summer months were always hot and humid. Both rich and poor suffered from the heat. – Gen. Doug Satterfield. Read his letters and you will learn what “rich” really means.

          1. pigpen larry

            Nice 👀👀👀👀👀👀

  10. Kerry

    Gen. Satterfield, thank you for another beautiful letter to your granddaughter, and by extension to all your grandkids as well. Please keep these letters coming our way, for if nothing else, they are entertaining, and more importantly, they are educational on how to take your experiences and turn them into something you can build your future self on.

  11. Elizabeth Schröder

    We can’t beat another Letter to My Granddaughter from Gen. Satterfield to tell her about the times when her granddad was a kid like her. raveling on the trains to see his Aunt Rea was an adventure of sorts. Great story, Gen. S. and thanks for this long and happy series. Well done!!!! 😊😁😎👀👏👍😍✔🤣❤

    1. Janna Faulkner

      Don’t ya just love these? I do.
      And, I will add that if you read Gen. Satterfield’s books like “55 Rules for a good life,” then all this starts to make sense.

      1. Yusaf from Texas

        Yep, Janna and Elizabeth. I have to admit that I’m taken by the letters and normally i would not be. Must be the ability of Gen. Doug Satterfield to write.

        1. Douglas R. Satterfield Post author

          Yusaf, you are one of the original commentators in my leadership forum, so thanks for sticking around and for commenting on my letters.


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