- Associated Press - Saturday, January 14, 2017

WHITING, Iowa (AP) - Driving on Monona County Road K-45 between Whiting and Sloan, you see a sign gracing an old barn, just off the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. The yellow banner says, “Thank You Union Pacific!!!”

It comes from the family of the late Vernon and Lenora Gloyer, thanking railroad crew members for the care they took to wave at Vernon and Lenora through the years.

The track runs along the old Gloyer farm, not far from their home immediately west of K-45. The couple didn’t see the train as a nuisance. They welcomed these roaring “iron horses” at all hours of day and night.

The Sioux City Journal (http://bit.ly/2iIbUg5 ) reports Vernon Gloyer died of cancer 12 years ago. Late in his life, according to his daughter, Vernice Gloyer Ankerstjerne of nearby Onawa, Iowa, Vernon sat outside in a lawn chair and counted the number of cars on each train. He loved waving at the engineer and at anyone who might occupy the caboose.

Lenora kept Vernon’s waving tradition alive after his death. Ankerstjerne said her mother would wave a handkerchief from the kitchen window as the train passed. In summer months, the wail of the engine’s whistle would prompt Lenora to dash outside for a friendly salute as the UP zoomed by.

A Union Pacific train stopped at the farm a few years ago, reportedly to allow another train on the Sloan line to advance. The engineer walked to the Gloyer house and left Lenora a hat. Another train crew stopped to salute her on her 84th birthday.

Then, there was a time when a train experienced mechanical issues in front of their home. Lenora offered her assistance by driving the engineer one mile, so he could address connection issues at the back of the train. According to her daughter, Lenora was honored to “pay it forward” in this manner.

Lenora was 85 when she died on Nov. 28, 2015.

Months after her mother’s death, Ankerstjerne learned of a Union Pacific effort to make and erect a sign for “Granny Gloyer’s Crossing” at the farm. On a Saturday in early November, crew members and Gloyer family members and friends numbering more than 70 turned out for a sign dedication. The sign features a decades-old photo of Vernon and Lenora holding hands.

“The conductors said my mom made their trips a little more interesting and fun as they looked forward to seeing her,” Ankerstjerne said. “It might be 3 a.m., but they’d notice how she’d turn on the lights and wave from the kitchen window. I didn’t realize how much these guys loved her until she died and I received the cards and letters. The crews then put their money together to get this sign built.”

While an impediment to the speed and immediacy our “microwave culture” seeks, train traffic is also a sign of a healthy economy, moving commodities and products, goods sold and purchased across the continent. Each train, you might say, has its own multiplier effect, doing what it can to put bread on the table.

Vernon and Lenora Gloyer understood this much. They also came to know there were conductors, engineers and other railroad workers doing what they could to keep the trains running safely and on time. The decency of two friendly faces in the countryside did not go unnoticed.

The fact her parents had a positive impact on the Union Pacific prompted Vernice Gloyer Ankerstjerne to return the gesture, thanking the Union Pacific pros for what they did over the course of a half-century at “Granny Gloyer’s Crossing.”

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Information from: Sioux City Journal, http://www.siouxcityjournal.com

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