Monday, September 19, 2011

Model Trains....and the Men that Love them.

He was shaking...literally shaking.


His little fingers were both pointing and his two eyes, even widened like little saucers as they were, couldn't take in everything around him.

He was vibrating and stomping his little feet and bending his knees in excitement. It was like a little tribal dance.

"DING DING DING DING DING!!!!!!" He chanted imitating the crossing bells.

I loved every second of watching him completely spellbound by the impressive model train layouts we got to see this weekend at the annual model train show.

I enjoyed it because I was completely spellbound too.

I was transported back to memories of my seven year old self with my face pressed to the glass of the model train layout displays at the sketchy Bavarian Miniatureland my grandparents were sweet enough to take us to every summer. Amid all the creepy displays of malfunctioning nursery characters popping out of rundown village windows and moving on faulty mechanics to tinny music... the trains stood out in my memory as a thing of wonder.

All those tiny trees, trestle bridges, snow capped hills, villages with little people waiting at miniature train stations. I loved it only slightly less than he does now.

I couldn't stop taking pictures of all the impressive work that dedicated individuals (all men of a certain demographic) had lovely put into their trains and how proud they were of being able to show them off and represent their subculture for the rest of us.

In fact the more I began to look around at all the displays the more enthralled I became with photographing the men behind these tiny train models. Their passion so evident, the importance of what they were doing made clear to us all. There were teams of men for each display, all representing their particular model train club or association, some of them having traveled quite a ways to come for the expo. Some of them had all matching outfits, some of those outfits were downright adorable. Covered in all manner of important badges of model train honor.

We stopped to chat with many of them; ask them the particulars of their layout designs. "How long did certain pieces take them, how do they cooperate each set with one another, who paints the backdrops, what materials do they use?"
I listened intently to all they had to say, I couldn't NOT listen, they were so absolutely passionate about it all, that you wanted to hear them go on about scale and plaster and the real life places, important enough to them that they had created miniature worlds in homage to them; A bridge in Edmonton, a mill in Salmon Arm.

At one point we stopped and had a chuckle over one particular fellow who was rigged up with a complete head gear set so he could communicate with the other "engineers" running the fleet.
"You know," Smirked Kevin "Your a train man got an antennae running out the back of your head!"

We smiled to eachother and giggled but really I have to say I had quite a bit of awe for these men who had made something really beautiful together and were proudly sharing it with the rest of us. More than the trains they had built a real community together and as I looked down at my little boy trembling at the magic of it all, my little boy who already spends quiet hours building and rebuilding wooden train tracks for his beloved little engines, "Yes, my son someday a train man you shall be". and I'll be pretty proud too. I might even get him a walkie talkie headset for Christmas someday.

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