June 14, 2004

Notes From a Loooooong Weekend

When your mother tells you at the beginning of a trip, "Don't worry, I know this shortcut," put her in a headlock until she promises not to take said shortcut. Otherwise, you will be making U-Turns in scary gravel driveways and trying to avoid running over random dogs and being hit by other vehicles while making these U-Turns on curvy mountain roads with zero visibility, and then you will be forced to ask directions from the work crew hanging out in the parking lot of the local strip joint. These events, while slightly humorous in retrospect, do not amuse a woman who is hellbent on getting her offspring to Tweetsie Railroad in time for a prepaid ride on an anthropomorphic British tank engine. A headlock would have been a much more efficient use of time, and would have had the bonus effect of not elevating my blood pressure to steam engine proportions.

Funny thing about coal burning steam engines that we in SUV-saturated middle America tend to forget: coal burning steam engines produce a lot of black smoke with cinders, and those cinders are drawn to the human eyeball like moths to a flame. Or maybe they're just drawn to my eyeballs. It's hard to appreciate a lovely train ride through the mountains when coal particles are trying to embed themselves in your skull. Although the sensation of cinder-in-the-eyeball is definitely up there in the "unforgettable" category, it wasn't what I had in mind when I expressed the hope that our trip would be "memorable."

Never underestimate the ability of a male toddler to incur grievous skin injuries, particularly when the toddler is all het up about meeting Sir Topham Hatt. Also, never underestimate the attachment a toddler will form to a temporary tattoo in the shape of an anthropomorphic British tank engine.

All in all, we had a large time up at Tweetsie Railroad, and I learned a few things about The Boy:

  • He has no fear of heights.

  • His trust in me to catch him is absolute (see above).

  • He doesn't have a problem bossing much larger kids around.

  • He thinks that wooden trains and video cassette tapes are just as cuddly as stuffed animals, and will sleep with them in his bed.

  • His idea of good reading material is the Thomas Yearbook, which he will spend hours poring over and pointing out the items that he "needs."

  • He isn't afraid of people dressed up in gigantic padded character costumes, which gives me hope for a good Santa picture this year.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at June 14, 2004 10:16 AM

Sounds like a grimy, gritty good time. My son sleeps with bungee cords (which are removed in the night by his nervous nelly mom), huge plastic dinosaurs, and back in the days of Thomaslove, tons of engines, even a drawbridge once. You wonder how they sleep at all!

Posted by: Belle at June 14, 2004 01:11 PM

I'm surprised the boy didn't correct you on the moth deal. They're not attracted to flame. They use a bright celestial object (moon, say) as a referenece and keep it at constant bearing. That keeps them flying straight and making headway towards the goal of their pilgrimage, which is some flower-rich mountain meadow far away.

Alas! A nearby moon, such as a flame, kept at constant bearing, results in the moth at best circling, and and worst spiraling, and if he spirals inwards (say you keep the moon to the side but a little ahead of you too), he spirals into the moon and burn up. Not the intention! The moth is a straight flyer as far as he's concerned.

If he flew at the moon, he'd never reach his meadow. He's just watching it, using it, trusting it.

Posted by: Ron Hardin at June 14, 2004 08:40 PM

I still have a love of trains from my boyhood. But somewhere along the line I switched to diesel.


Posted by: Wince and Nod at June 16, 2004 02:46 PM