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.
Thanks for reading my Blog. Best, Chas W5PG