Saturday, December 02, 2006


Today we took a trip to the local model railroading club. They were having an open house and we knew Thomas would love it.

For the last month, I have heard nothing but, "I want electric trains for Christmas." This was another reason we went.

We spent almost two hours watching trains, talking to club members, and learning tricks of the trade. All three of us asked many, many questions.

After about an hour of our endless questions, we were -- rather my husband and Thomas were asked if they would like to join the club. We're in small-town Minnesota and I'm afraid that I complained about the sexism exhibited first thing when we got out of there. It was as if I was not even there. One club member we were talking to blew me off. Oh well.

Anyway, aside from that, we had a great time. Thomas is begging his dad to join the club. It meets once a week. It is mostly grown-ups, but a few kids attend with their parents and grandparents -- or I should say dads and grandpas.

When we got in the car, I mentioned to my husband that this may just be the answer to the question: what are we going to replace Cub Scouts with! Except that Bob will have to go to meetings rather than me. It's socialization, albeit not necessarily with a same-age peer group, at least it's with people who have like interests. It's extremely educational. Thomas will learn about history, electricity, scale, math -- have to know how to do a radius to lay a track, scenery/art, engineering, how to build a tressel and other things -- its educational opportunities are actually endless.

Bob reluctantly agreed. He's only slightly interested in model railroading. He worked for a railroad for 14 years prior to going back to college. He actually works in the railroad industry now. So even though he knows a lot and this will all come easy to him, I think when he comes home at the end of the day, he'd rather forget work. Oh well, what we won't do for our kids, right?

Bob and I were both more interested in the sceneries than the railroads themselves. What fabulous artistic opportunities await us! The men told us that the next time we're at a garage sale to buy a used Christmas tree. They buy them used, cut them up, and instant trees. They use gravel and run them through a sifter to make ballast. They even used cockleburs glued together and spray painted green for bushes.

Thomas, of course, was interested in the trains. He's been interested in trains since he was one. Trying to choose an engine was torture. I think Santa will have to choose his first engine. Thomas has a grandpa who worked for Union Pacific for over 40 years. Grandpa was a fireman and then an engineer. His father worked for a railroad in Indiana. Railroading is in Thomas's blood.

If I were rich, I'd buy Thomas a Big Boy. My dad worked on the Big Boys. They were the largest steam engines ever built. Thomas visited the Big Boy in a park in Cheyenne, Wyoming when he was 4. It's hard to grasp the enormity of the engine by the photo. They're.really.big. My dad worked on every single Big Boy ever made. I'd like to buy him one, but at nearly $300, I just can't afford it.

I'm just happy that this opportunity came up. I'm hoping Bob will be a sport about this because Thomas will LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it.


Carole in DE said...

I really dislike it when males dismiss us females.

My college roomate's DH is in a railroad club and she found that the club readily accepted her to paint the scenes for them. You just might have a niche there too :-)

Anonymous said...

What an awesome day! We have two little train nuts ourselves. I imagine that someday after the Fisher Price trains have worn thin I will get the "can I have a real model train" question myself.

Bah humbug to the chauvinistic model railroaders.

Anonymous said...

My brother and I spent HOURS playing with his electric hiss to those dismissive model railroader guys.
It sounds like Thomas will love it!!!

Anonymous said...

Oops--forgot to sign my comment...that was from snickety.