Friday, July 10, 2009

Trains and things

I guess we all have memories of things that seem like just yesterday but when we stop to think about it, if we ever do, it was really many years ago. Many of us have memories of things we did or were involved in and we still view ourselves in that way.

For example, when I was growing up, my family had horses and raised cattle. We were around livestock almost everyday, doing what you do when you are around livestock almost everyday. Riding the horses, feeding them, caring for them, helping with the cows, whether it was moving them from one field to another, rounding them up for vaccination a couple of times a year or just driving through them every once in a while to look at them and make sure they were all doing ok.

And then there was the hay. Cutting, raking, baling and hauling when it was so hot you could hardly stand it. Then, it seemed, then next time you handled that hay to feed it to the cows, it was so cold you could hardly stand it. I don’t remember ever touching a bale of hay when I was not sweating profusely or shivering uncontrollably.

I have not done any of those things (except for sweating and shivering) for more than 25 years, but if you ask me, I somehow think I can tell you anything you need to know about horses or cows or hay (or scorching heat or shivering cold). Because, in my mind, it was just yesterday that I was doing that. In my mind, I am still the same expert that I thought I was back then on all things rural. But really, I am not. Never was. But don’t tell me that. It’s my memory and I’ll remember it the way I want to.

Others may still be living in the memory of playing football, baseball, being a cheerleader or something else but most of us have something that was long ago but we still see ourselves in that way.

Then there are those things we have not really thought of for a long time. Those memories that come back when we go into the attic to get something and we see that box sitting there that has all those cherished things that have not crossed your mind in years. Things so important that you can’t get rid of them, but not so important that you have even thought of them for years. Things like the father’s day card for the soon-to-be dad that your wife got you before your first child was born. Or the first watch that your kids got you that quit working about 2 days later. Stuff that brings back memories that no one would remember but you. Stuff you enjoy looking at and thinking about, but not everyday. These memories would not be so special if you looked at this stuff everyday.

There are also things you did that you know you will do again, but you just haven’t gotten around to yet. Many times we never get around to it again but we keep thinking we will. I have a model train set that I had set up in my basement and used to work on years ago. It was one of those things that was a work in progress and would never be finished. The layout was the size of three sheets of plywood and part of it had a lower level also. It either had, or I had plans for, mountains, a lake, a river, fields, forests, farms, roads, a school, an industrial area, a commercial area, a residential area and a train yard. The lower level was connected to the upper through a tunnel that led down to it. The lower level was used for staging and for storage of full trains. I had two freight trains and an Amtrak train that I could run simultaneously. It was wired for working street lights (which I never got around to), working crossing arms with bells and lights and many other true to life features.

Years ago the train had to go to make room for additional bedrooms. That was ok because at the time it was disassembled, I had not done anything with it for a couple of years anyway. My life had taken a turn in a different direction and there was no time for it. It was boxed up and went in the attic where is has been for about 10 years.

I always knew I would get back around to setting it up again. I even had mental plans of how I was going to set it up in the attic. But I never got around to it. I have recently gotten down the five boxes of train paraphernalia and have started showing it to my kids now that they are old enough to appreciate it. Maybe we will get at least part of it set up again.

Memories and things from our past can be a great thing if handled properly…

1 comment: