Sunday, July 17, 2011

Tristan, Trains and Transitions

There is no greater bliss than Saturday nights and all day Sunday with Tristan, my five year old grandson (although he is six on the inside and when he turns six in August he will notify us when he becomes seven on the inside). We often plan something special to do on Sunday after church as a not-so-subtle bribe for his attending church with us.

Today we made reservations to ride the antique railroad in Versailles and tour the Bluegrass Railroad Museum. We boarded the train right on time and settled into our seats after marveling that we were on a 90 year old train car. There was a wad of gum on the floor near our feet.

I asked Tristan, “Do you think that gum is 90 years old too?”

“No, Mimi, I think the gum is just 20 years old.”

He could be right.

The ride was a history lesson about Kentucky, railroads and with the window open a scenic Sunday survey of all that’s beautiful about our countryside. Tristan asked questions or just listened to the conductor’s patter or lapsed into a contemplative repose with his face in the wind.

The sounds, sights, smells and having a little one with me stirred poignant memories of my teenage train trips from California to Missouri or Indiana to visit family---especially my mother’s mother, Grandma Whitmer.

We especially liked the Grand Canyon Line because its route through the states that divided us provided excitement and beauty. Putting together the pennies necessary to transport my mother and five kids on the train never got easy. I plead guilty to helping Mom once convince my younger sisters that they had already had lunch when our packed lunches were gone as well as all money. Finally, the conductor walked through yelling, “St. Louis! St. Louis! Everybody off for St. Louis!” we couldn’t wait to tell Grandma about convincing the kids they had been fed and the delay out west that caused the train line to provide one free meal in The Dining Car---a first class experience for a band of ragamuffins.

As we toured the little museum after the ride, I swear the china displayed was exactly like what we used on the Grand Canyon Line.

Since Tristan had informed us when we invited him to the opening reception of Poppa’s photo exhibit, “Mimi, I’m not the kind of boy who goes somewhere just to look at pictures.” So after the ride today, we went by the exhibit so he could just see the gallery and Poppa’s photos without the hoopla of the opening reception.

Poppa couldn’t resist posing the big boy Tristan in front of the two photos of him in the exhibit. In one, he is a round-headed baby in the bath tub and in the other he is a toddler in his stroller and a little African-American girl asks to touch his hair. Poppa caught the moment.

Tristan, trains and transitions---a fulfilling Sunday.  

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