2009; The Year Christmas Almost Died

23 Nov

In the spirit of the Holidays here Stateside, I offer a few reminiscences of recent events in our families life. It may not be Thanksgiving yet, but it feels like it. We begin thawing and brining turkeys two days before the actual holiday. Generally there are about 15 to 20 people eating so it requires careful choreography in the kitchen. One bird is brined on Tuesday night for eventual smoking in the out door smoking BBQ. While the first bird is smoking on Wednesday, a second, more traditional bird is brined and made ready for a Thursday cook in the indoor oven. After the Wednesday bird activities are complete one or more daughters show up to help with making stuffing or baking pies. The house resembles a controlled frenzy. Meanwhile back to Xmas.

This year my wife conned me into erecting Xmas decorations prior to Thanksgiving so the house would look festive for all to enjoy. Usually I balk at this and try to hold things off until the second week of December, however, I must be an easy touch and so things were put into motion. The final touches involved a train-long a member of the family.

Families have traditions at the Holidays that keep things steady. One such tradition we have maintained since our children were tots is the  presence of a small railroad around our Christmas Tree.  I don’t believe that anyone will argue with the notion that 2008 and 2009 were very difficult years. Little did I realize that economics and recessions would reach into our traditional Christmas and, like the cold fingers of Uncle Scrooge, nip our train away.  You see, in 2009 my Xmas Train died a horrible death. It made it through Xmas okay, however, its’ motor gave up the ghost just prior to New Years. We’ve had this LGB engine and cars since 1978. It has graced our tree for every intervening year since. It runs its small oval virtually every waking hour of the season. I think we calculated once that it had enough miles on its motor, wheels and running gear to have powered its way across the whole USA. And its’ brushes went kerpluwey.

I bought the train out of a window display in Phoenix in 1978 ish and so there is no way to know how many actual miles this set had accumulated. Suffice to say we got our monies worth. I began a hunt for LGB replacement motors but was horrified to learn that LGB had been purchased by Maarklin. Maarklin in turn had gone bankrupt. 2008/2009 again!  The recession grabbed our little engine that could no more and wrested it out of our holidays. Somehow I managed to find a replacement motor in a small shop in San Diego, California. It was an expensive replacement and in fact did look and feel the same as our burned out one. Today our little holiday tradition is again circling its never ending oval of track all set for a second thirty year run. Someone else will have to find the next motor though.

LGB Back in Motion

Thanks for reading my Blog. Best, Chas W5PG


Posted by on November 23, 2010 in Family, Stuff


6 responses to “2009; The Year Christmas Almost Died

  1. Dick

    November 23, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    Nice blog. I was never a model train buff, but growing up 200 feet from the old New York Central Line was good enough. The days of steam engines and lots of RR traffic. I’m looking for a CD that has steam engine sounds AND steam whistles. Something nostalgic and comforting hearing that lonesome whistle far away.

    73 dick

    • w5pg

      November 23, 2010 at 7:35 pm

      Thanks Rich! There are loads of RR Buff videos and sounds on the net. I am not too sure about the off in the distance bits though. Perhaps you will find something suitable. We played with trains as a kid because my Grandfather was a buyer at a Philly Hardware Distributor and his vendors were American Flyer etc. I grew up with them so that is the attraction. This LGB is the only kit that I have remaining at my home. Most of the older stuff was sold or given away many years ago.

      Best, Chas W5PG

  2. Mike

    November 24, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Very nice setup, the train under the tree is a very cool touch for sure. Have a very nice Thanksgiving holiday.

  3. Paul PC4T

    November 24, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    Hi Chas, a very nice story, I enjoyed it. Nice to read about family traditions. In the Netherlands we are not known with the Thanks Giving, but I understand the thought. 73 Paul

    • w5pg

      November 24, 2010 at 11:12 pm

      Hey Paul; thanks for reading the old blog. I will say happy thanksgiving to all of the Dutch People that afforded the USA a loan facility during our revolutionary war in 1779 or so! Thanks! We would not be here without you….Best, Chas

  4. Paul PC4T

    November 25, 2010 at 11:36 am

    OK, good job. 😉 73 Paul


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