Turkey and Trains!

As I spent this last Thursday with Shannon quietly sitting in our living room after going out for Thanksgiving Dinner to a local restaurant, the two of us, laughing and having a good time in a corner booth dreaming and cracking jokes. No judgments. I happened to recall Thanksgivings from days-gone-by. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have done the whole “family at the table” thing but sometimes it’s just fun to try a two-person dinner. Anyway, I remember that we used to head over to friends of the family, “Uncle Bill and Aunt Bea Ames.” Just saying those names and I can smell the turkey cooking already. We would head over in the early afternoon and sit around and talk and then we would eat and eat. I still remember sitting around the table answering the obligatory questions of “How’s school?” and “What are you doing now?” and so forth. It was ok, standard kid stuff. I answered every question while ‘gobbling up’ the turkey (forgive the Dad pun). But the thing I looked forward to the most, the thing I looked forward to EVERY year …

… Uncle Bill was a Model Railroad Enthusiast!

Every year, after dinner, we would scramble downstairs and he would show off his entire room FILLED with working HO-Scale Trains! There was barely enough space to get around the outside of the room. Huge tables FILLED with trains, all connected and running at the same time! My head is spinning now thinking about it! I was convinced that this was all Uncle Bill did – eat Thanksgiving Turkey and build and run trains all day long!! I remember to this day, he gave me my first train set! I was six, it was a basic circle and I must have watched that train go around for two hours on a cold floor! To this day I can’t walk by a train, real or toy, and think back to those great times; he always had something new and it was always magical, and I LOVED it, and I loved him.

My first train. I could go anywhere I wanted now … as long as it was in a circle!

Years later, when we purchased our house in River Falls, I filled it FULL of train tables and models and the trains would run and run on Thanksgiving. You see the point of Uncle Bill’s gift was not to get ME into trains, the intended target was in fact MY DAD! As time went by, my Dad didn’t have the room or the inclination to keep up with his model railroad but, I too had the railroad bug and I ran with it. YEARS later, after Uncle Bill had passed away, father senior and son junior were sitting at a table at Baker’s Square in Edina, MN, arguing the polarity of a throw-switch on a train table. My Dad purchased model railroad magazines for me to study and finally when we would go to the modeling shop, he would buy something outrageous and then give it to me in the car and say, “Here, make this run on our table.”



Thanks Uncle Bill, your trains not only changed your life … they changed mine too!


Go Turn It Around and Win Your Day!

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