Thinking Out of the Box and A Generational Train

My husband loves to tinker and repair everything he can get his hands on. Heck, he loves to disassemble new things, check out the innards, and then put them back together but that’s a completely different blog post. When he was a boy, his grandparents gave him his first tool box with which he tore apart his bicycle and put it back together. I think he was six.

The train in the photo above was his father’s when he was a boy. It has been sitting in a closet for years after a previous attempt to make it run again, but recently something in my husband urged him to pull out the box and try to repair the motor in the engine.

He set up the tracks on our dining room table and it sat there for well over a week (probably close to two weeks) while he meticulously tore apart the engine and wheels. Some folks may have considered the train on the dining room table an inconvenience but not I. I loved walking past it and couldn’t help but smile when I saw the intensity and concentration in his eyes.

Hours passed, and then days, and then…a flip of a switch and the engine was running. Careful not to overload the engine, one car was added and then another, and soon an entire train with a caboose was following behind the engine. A few days later the engine had decided it had had enough and quit working, but we had seen the result of that intensity and concentration and labor so it really didn’t matter.

The time that the engine ran around the tracks was fleeting but the memory that I have of my husband playing with his father’s childhood train will never leave me. You see, I never knew Ralph Locke. He passed away when my husband was only six years old, and I don’t know whether it was because it was Christmas time or simply the smile on Mr. Locke’s face, but it felt like Ralph was watching over my husband repair his childhood train.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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