Norfolk & Western Rides Again

 In My Marsupial

It is finally complete. A 20+ year dream is a reality. The much awaited train track is under our tree. I spent the evening with my son Joey cleaning my old blue Norfolk & Western train at the kitchen table so that Joey, Rebekah, and Aaron can use it on the new track. The problem is that the train has not run in years and I am hoping that it still works. We take the rubbing alcohol, the q-tips and the sand paper to the wheels just like my Father and I used to every Christmas. Joey and I even made a make-shift connector from an old Rubbermaid lid to reattach the coal car to the engine. Once the train was cleaned and all tidy it came to the moment of truth.

Place the train on the track.

My heart was racing as I slowly gave power to the trails via the transformer. I have not seen this train move in a very long time. I was nervous because I was unsure of the emotions I was going to have either way. Whether it worked or didn’t. I wasn’t really prepared for either. I certainly didn’t want to get my hopes up and I for sure wanted it to move. The heart was racing fast. Then, I saw the light come on. The train hummed, sputtered, start and stopped, and finally roared to full speed ahead. “WOW” I said, and Joey cried, “It’s working!” And then the train promptly slid of the track trying to make it’s first turn. We both laughed. It didn’t matter thought. Seeing the train move warmed my heart. It was a great healer for a week full of mental ups and downs.

We tried and tried again, and each time the train would slide off the track. The train was acting like it was trying to shake the years of rust off it’s parts and it seemed determined to make it. The highlight was the ‘ol Norfolk & Western had just completed it’s second loop around the track without falling off when my 14 year old son Joey asked me. “When was the last time you saw this working Dad?”

I never really thought to do the math, so I paused and thought…

“15. Joey I was 15 years old.”

Joey’s eyes got really big with surprise and I could see him mutter a reflective “15 years old” under his breath. He responded with a quick, “Let’s put the train back on the track, and try again.” I certainly didn’t mind.

A Merry Christmas indeed.

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