When I was a kid, my Dad and I would work on model trains.
It was something we did together, as an effort to create those bonding moments between a father and son.
The placing of each track, each building… creating an entire imaginary world… each grouping of buildings being given a name like a town.
Every nook and cranny a little story on the large Model railroad set.
We even belonged to a Model Railroad club that had a very large train set that was at the county fairgrounds.
Years later, the train set and club moved to another location in a different town, and my Dad is across the country from where I live, and life has led me to this point in time.
That train set at the fairgrounds was created and worked on for many years. Each section of track meticulously placed, each building painted and aged to look almost real.
It was an epic train set that ended up being featured in Model Railroader Magazine in October 1988.
The amount of patience these men had was immense.
I was just a kid wanting to play with the trains, wanting to see them speed along.
After time I realized it wasn’t about speeding along. It wasn’t about “getting it done”…
The train set was continually being worked on, being updated, being modified. It was a never ending process.
Before I moved away with my family across country, I wanted to learn how to create the buildings – the bridges – and age a train with the right technique.
One bridge was immense, built out of small sticks -not much bigger than toothpicks – but was several feet high and several feet wide.
Watching trains cross that bridge was something I learned to not take for granted. After all, everything was handcrafted on that bridge… and the backdrop of a mountain and canyon could make the image of this train traveling in such a way that when camera took a picture of it… it looked very real.
I learned that in order to appreciate the trains running, I had to first appreciate the time and effort in it being built.
With trains it is about the journey. It’s about riding the rails and enjoying the moments that pass before the window.
I remember actually riding the train from Southern California up to Northern California along the coast.
There’s nothing quite like sitting on a railcar, looking out the window, and watching the Pacific Coast sunset.
I learned that life is in the journey, and our destination is only a distant plan that we are working towards.
Appreciate what you have. It’s amazing how something considered so small and insignificant, can become something so incredible.
It’s been a couple of decades since I’ve seen a good Model Railroad set, or have travelled in a train.
But those experiences provided a different perspective on the appreciation of the moment.
Life is, after all, a series of moments.
I hope you have enjoyed this one.