Sam’s Story: Week 145

To celebrate the end of the “able to go outside” season here in the Midwest, we all went out earlier this week to this kind of miniature railroad where all the trains were fun-sized. Unfortunately the fun was kind of fun-sized, too. The idea is that you can take a ride on these little steam powered, hand crafted trains, chugging along the rails through the beautiful fall foliage. That was the theory, anyway.

Our first mistake, I think, was to get there late in the day, for the last ride on the last train on the last day of the season. The lines were long, and rather than send everyone home the conductors decided to just keep adding cars to the train. There was some big long delay while they brought out “Ole Number Five” out of the yard and I imagine here a grizzled veteran of a train who has a heart of gold and crippling arthritis. This involved much backing up, scooting forward, and blasting of steam while twenty guys in overalls and handlebar mustaches stood around and said “Yup…” to each other. I should have known by their pitying looks that we were in for it.

By the time we actually hit the tracks for our farewell voyage it was almost night –thanks, Daylight Savings Time, you’re a champ. The subsequent blackness made it kind of hard to appreciate the wonders of nature, but we still had the experience of plodding along in an honest to goodness steam engine. Sam seemed to love it. For a few minutes, anyway.

It seems that the guys running the train thought that he laws of physics had been repealed in their jurisdiction, though, because once we hit a seven degrees incline the force of the little engine that couldn’t became inadequate to keep us going. We stopped, in the pitch dark, in the middle of nowhere.

It’s amazing how dark and how quiet things can be just a few miles outside the city, and given this I fully expected that when our conductor turned around he’d be wearing a hockey mask. Only he’d take it off and it would actually be a BEAR. A HUNGRY bear. A hungry bear WHACKED OUT ON DRUGS. He wasn’t, though he was also not very helpful, as we stayed stranded there while they brought in a bigger engine and I wondered why they hadn’t just used that one in the first place.

I mentioned this to Geralyn, who just kind of shrugged and said “Well, we’re all gonna die.”

“Yep,” I said. “Looks that way.”

“Yep,” Sammy echoed as she clambered down from the train and tried to bolt off into the darkness.

We spent another half hour sitting there on an absurdly tiny train waiting for rescue. The funny thing was that we probably could have just gotten out of the thing and walked back pretty easily. I even offered to have Sam get out and push, but no. We were told that we had to stay there in the rapidly cooling night air and wait until they could split up the trains into two smaller trains that could be pulled back. Cold aside, though, Sam actually seemed to enjoy it. Wonders of being a kid, I guess. They find everything cool.

This week was Halloween, too, which I talked a bit about last week. Sam wore her second costume on the actual holiday, though, and made a pretty good Minnie Mouse. Sam totally got into the trick-or-treating this year, dragging us to nearly every house in our neighborhood. She’d clomp up to the house, wail on the door and shout “HappyHalloweenTrickorTreatOkayThankYou!” as soon as someone opened it. She made a huge haul of candy, which we’ve been putting to excellent use as bribes for good behavior.

As you can see in the picture above, we also carved a pumpkin earlier this year. I fully expected Sam to go wild for the “pulling the pumpkin guts out” part of the activity, but she stuck her hand down into the gourd’s slimy cavity once, pulled out a fist full of goo and seeds, and promptly announced “I DON’T LIKE THIS!” before jumping off my lap to run to the bathroom sink. It took some coaxing to get her to come closer to the table again, but eventually she decided that she could participate with the aid of a spoon. My daughter the neat freak.

Interestingly enough, her proclivity for tidiness seems to conveniently vanish the second you put a beater full of cookie dough in her hand.

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