I was born in Coaldale PA. My dad, 2 grandpaws & 5 uncles worked for Lehigh Coal & Navigation.
The "Old Company" as it was known back then, employed some 6,000 men in its mining operation. Then LCN produced an average of 4 million ton of coal a year. LCN had 9 collierys and numerous surface strippings.
Summers I and my Dad picked coal from a refuse bank. Dad would sling a 75 pound burlap bag of coal & go down culm banks then up the railroad tracks to our home. I've calculated this was an 1/8 or more miles to our house. 75 lbs, 1/8 mile, try it gents.
Another source of coal was the RR marshalling yard.We lived near the coal company railroad. A steam locomotive engineer, if he saw one of us on our porch, he would blow his whistle ann bump the loaded gondolas, spilling coal along the railroad tracks. We'd wait until the train left and me and my sister would go pick up the nut coal and bring it home. I never met him to thank him but I think he knew by the way we waved & jumped up & down.
Our town had a population of about 3000 people and 31 bars and 7 churches. All did well. The miners would stop after work for a shot & a beer, "to wash the dust down".
Here is a song (1960) that our high school music teacher changed.
I'm dreaming of a black Christmas, just like the ones I used to know.
Where the coal cars glistend & children listened, to hear colliery whistles blow.
I'm dreaming of a black Christmas, with every coal car that I fill.
May your days be Merry & Bright & may all your coal be Anthracite.