We didn't do the Railroaders' Weekend this past October. I don't know why not. Too many birthday parties, probably.
But I was able to combine a train ride with the Christmas at the Historic Village at Allaire this past Sunday. I attended an early mass but still had to scramble to get the kids ready and together. The train rides began at 11 and I wanted to have them on the first one, but we arrived at 11:30 and found out rides were sold out until 2:30.
So I took them to the playground. The sun was warm but it was cold otherwise. I knew by mid-afternoon it would be even colder but I figured we could sit in the car if necessary. I saw some people doing that, people with little, little children.
I couldn't talk them into a horse & carriage ride. That would have killed some time. But probably been too cold, especially for me who had forgotten a coat.
I dragged them to the 12:30 chapel service. I knew the later ones would be SRO. We had a pew to ourselves which became a problem when it came time to sing The Twelve Days of Christmas. Our row and the row behind us were to sing "8 maids a'milkin'" but my kids don't sing (or won't) and the lady behind me seemed shy. Wouldn't you know, about six people came in the church, to get warm, just as we were starting and they sat in our two rows and sang along! Very strange and very convenient. After the song was over, they left. But the service was almost over anyway.
Not a particularly religious service. No "presentation of the gospel" or anything so evangelical. Just a performance of some Christmas music. I was surprised at how many adults did not sing along at the appropriate times. It seemed principled. But I'm just very used to singing in public. I mean, I sing along with the grocery store tunes.
I rewarded their patience in the chapel with cookies from the bakery. Chris was interested in the noises coming from the smithy, so I walked him over there. Photos weren't allowed but it was a working forge with a couple of guys banging out some metal. Looked like very difficult labor.
The train ran behind schedule by about 10 or 15 minutes. We got in line at 2:10, just as the 2 o'clock train departed. We were pretty close to the head of the line but it was a tough wait for the boys. I thought the train would go around only twice like usual but the Christmas train must need more time for Santa to make his way through and greet each child, so the train took three laps.
But our long wait in line was rewarded with a seat in the coveted cupola in the caboose. Unfortunately, all the "trainees" also hang out in the caboose because that's where the stove is. So I had to put up with old wannabes talkin' shop; men that were born 100 years too late to catch the railway boom. If nothing else, it was difficult to take pictures because these guys with their steady sea legs never took a seat.
But we survived and the boys were so ready to get home that I didn't have to deliver on my promised trip to McDonald's, the one with the indoor playroom. Good deal.