The Tree, My Dad and The Train

In 1941, my Dad and his Brother Don received a Lionel Toy Freight Train for Christmas. The story goes that while they set it up on the dining room table, they could not “run” it because the small connection linking the track to the power supply was not in the package. So, since it was Christmas day they could not get to the store to buy one and they had to wait a WHOLE DAY to get the train running.

What I didn’t know until a few years ago was a pact was made years later that whichever brother had the first boy would get the toy train … I have 3 older sisters and my Uncle had two girls and the train now sits in my front entry, in a glass cabinet, with a note from him about its background.

A few years before my Dad passed away, he came over too our house for Christmas and was sitting next to the Christmas tree waiting for the meal when all of a sudden a train came around the tree and my father looked down at it and laughed and said, “Great train! That looks like …my …old …train?!” I had taken his train apart and cleaned it, rewired it and got it running for just this moment.

Then something happened that to this day I will never forget. My elderly father got down on all fours in front of this train and watched the train from its own level. It happened so fast that I didn’t even realize what he had done until he was on the floor! It was then that he told me the reason he loved to watch the train was that he had taken this train with his Grandmother and ridden on it with her in Minneapolis!!

I tried to hand him the controller so he could “drive” but he didn’t want to saying, “I never drove, Donny always drove but I was content to just watch it go round and round and think of my Grandmother and I.”

Later, as we were eating I managed to look over at him, smiling to himself, as we ate dinner. I realize now what we had done …

… we Turned It Around for him.

I challenge you to do the same.

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