I wrote this for jacketspeantgallery.com . Several people have said how they enjoyed it, but we have a very small readership, so I'd like to publish it on The Cannon, just for more people to enjoy.
By Professor ggrib
There once was a shinny dark blue train engine called Jackets. No one knew why he had this strange name except it was rumored that the man who financed his construction wore blue jackets. But somehow he ended up painted a dark blue and called Jackets. Jackets was not too old, by train standards. He was only about 12 years old. Despite having been recently built, there were apparently flaws in his construction as he had very seldom run well. He ran so bad in fact that his wheels were set to run on a little narrow track, while the big fast trains ran on the big fast tracks. Many people loved Jackets, in fact they had nicknamed him Blue because as they stood and watched him pulling his loads, they would say "Here comes Blue". They wanted him to run better because he took his cargo to Buckeyeland, the only place his little track took him . So the owners decided that Jackets would be rebuilt.
But in getting ready to rebuild Jackets, the owners found that there were several ways to do it. The owners could shut the engine down and take him completely apart and get many new pieces and then put him back together. But when the rail road company tried to plan to do this, they had a problem, they could not keep up with their schedules and business without Jackets. This perplexed them, so they hired a rebuilding expert, Mr John.
Mr John devised a plan that was to make a number of small rebuilds on different parts of the train engine until Jackets could work well. He called this plan the piece by piece plan as they would analyze each piece and decide if it needed to be replaced and then replace only the pieces that needed to be replaced.
The people loved this idea. They loved Jackets and this would keep him running so they could use him as well as eventually make him a great engine. But everyone knew this would take longer and thought that would be OK, because there was a plan. One advantage of this plan was that the rebuilder would have time to get new parts ready to use before they were actually put in Jackets. Some of the parts could actually be tested and modified at the rail road's test grounds in Springfield.
The rebuild plan had been started before Mr John was hired and a few of the parts had been changed. Jackets worked about like he had before, just getting enough done to avoid the scrap yard. The other trains made fun of him as usual, telling him he was still the worst train on the rail road and throwing smoke and cinders in his face every time they could . Then the news came, the big bridge that had carried most of the rail road business had been damaged. The only way to get goods to the town in the middle of what was called Buckeyeland was for Jackets to take them on his little narrow track to the top of the hill. So the engineer Mr Richards came to Jackets and said, "Blue, I know they have not rebuilt much of you, but we need you to run better. We need you to deliver the goods to Buckeyeland." Jackets loved his nickname Blue, and he thought about how the people of Buckeyeland needed his goods. So he responded, "I know the people of Buckeyeland need my goods delivered, so I'm going to try. I think I can do it, I think I can."
Engineer Richards said, " I think you can too, the other trains may laugh but I'm going to call you Blue Jackets to remind you that I think you can. I will help you all I can. We have some unfinished and untested pieces at Springfield that have the potential to help, so we will bring them here and put them in you and help you. " And so they did.
After the pieces were in place and everyone had gone home, Blue Jackets called a meeting of all his parts. He said, "The people of Buckeyeland need our goods and they are our friends. I have told our engineer that we can bring the goods to Buckeyeland, can we do it?" The parts all talked about it and decided that it was possible. They would not listen to others, they would not listen to the trains who made fun of them, they could do it!! So they gave a big shout, each shouting "I think I can".
And so it began, Blue Jackets made trip after trip to Buckeyeland, delivering needed goods. Sometimes the trips were easy, sometimes not. Some parts were damaged and had to be temporarily replaced, but Blue Jackets kept delivering goods. The parts each kept saying I think I can. And all the time Jackets just kept saying, I think I can, I think I can.
Meanwhile the big bridge was repaired and other trains could now deliver goods also, but the people loved Blue Jackets. In fact they loved him so much that they are thinking of renaming Buckeyeland to Jacketsland for a little time just to honor Jackets.
The critical time is past. The people know it doesn't matter if Jackets makes a just two more trips or some more after that. They want Jackets to make extra trips because he's earned the honor, but if he is just worn out then that's OK too. Most important is that Jackets delivered the goods when they needed it. Blue Jackets needs more repairs, the people all know it, but he will never be forgotten for his attitude--- I THINK I CAN --- I THINK I CAN---- and then doing it.