My local tourist train ends the season with their Pumpkin Trains. They have four trips, two on Saturday and again on Sunday, where the focus is not on the train or the rails or what this group of volunteers are doing to preserve them (which is massive). This weekend instead is all about the kids.
The Pumpkin Trains on the Downeast Scenic Railroad were this past weekend, and Grammy and Grampy got to accompany our Granddaughter (and her Dad) on their first ever ride on a train. Because I have always been a train fan, our daughter has been on several tourist train rides before, as well as on an Amtrak train during our epic cross country vacation trip.
Saturday was cold and wet, but the kids didn’t seem to mind. Because of the wet and damp weather, the train was longer than normal. They added their new acquisition, a converted combination car, which had been part of another tourist train. They had just finished the refurbish project, and were using the seating to make room for folks as they knew nobody would want to be in the open air car. We were part of those riding in the new car during its inaugural weekend.
Because of the extra length of the train, they also added their second engine to the back of the train. Normally the train goes down the track as far as they can to a runaround section, where they can switch the engine to the other end of the train to pull the train back all the way to the train yard, where they have a “wye” that they use to change the trains direction to head back to the station area. With the extra car and engine, they could not use the wye.
They had extra volunteers this weekend for the Pumpkin Train, not only for the extra car and engine, but also at the pumpkin patch.
Now, being as my granddaughter is only two, she didn’t exactly understand most of what was happening. Her Mom said she was more excited when she was on a plane. When we got to the pumpkin patch, she didn’t understand the concept of actually picking a pumpkin. In fact, she didn’t even want to touch them, as she kept saying that they were all wet. But finally, a pumpkin was chosen, and back on the train we went.
During the rest of the trip, the kids were given their choice of several foam sticker sheets to decorate their pumpkin. With Mom and Dads help, our granddaughter put together a very nice looking pumpkin. On it was a bat, with eyebrows and really big eyes. I think it even had a belly button.
One of the most important things that happened during the train ride was when she stood up on the seat, turned around, and started talking with the people in the seat behind us. It was the first time that she had ever done anything like that. While a minor milestone, it was nice to see her grow more as a person. Especially as in about two months she will become an older sister.
Being the oldest sibling comes with major responsibilities. You must show your younger sibling what to do, and how to not get caught doing things you shouldn’t be doing.
How to drive a car down the driveway and into the ditch when Mom isn’t looking. Yeah, I did that. 🙂
How to talk to strangers, and when to run away to safety.
And while it’s normal for siblings to fight tooth and nail with each other, family will always stick up for each other. Pick on baby brother, and suddenly you will have to deal with big sister. And her attitude. And if necessary, her right hook.
Family is love. Learning to share that love as the family grows will be my granddaughters first major life lesson.
Join hands. It’s a love train.