Trains were invented to transport things and a couple of weekends ago a number of trains transported my wife and I back in time. The trains were part of the miniature train sets that are displayed at Union Station in Kansas City each December.
The train sets were fabulous and they took my wife and I back to our childhoods. We each gazed in wonder at the displays. They included tiny villages, mini mountain ranges, amusement parks and much, much more. For as far as the eye could see there were train sets of every type and variety. When I saw them I recalled the thrill of receiving my first train set and my wife had fond memories of the spectacular train set and village her Dad had built for her brother and her!
Children surrounded us and they gazed at the trains, the décor and the sheer magnitude of the displays. Besides the trains, we saw giant Christmas trees, colorful nutcracker soldiers and festive Christmas decorations. At one point I glanced over at my wife and could see she was enjoying the displays as much as I was. I dodged a few kids that were racing back and forth to see as much as they could and then realized I was doing the same thing.
I noticed a young boy putting a letter in a giant red mailbox that said “Letters for Santa”. He folded the letter with care and made certain it went in the mailbox correctly…you can never be too careful when it comes to corresponding with Santa. I heard little girls singing Christmas songs that were playing over the loud speakers. I hummed along, if I had sang it would have ruined the moment for everyone.
In the center of the hall, kids were riding a small train that carried them around the grand decorations. They all smiled from ear to ear. For a minute or two I envied them and wished I could be a kid again, then I realized that at that moment I was! During that time, I was experiencing one of the best parts of Christmas. I was taking part in the anticipation of the big day. I was feeling nothing but warmth and joy! More memories of my childhood came flooding back when I saw brightly colored gift boxes and giant stuffed animals under a huge tree. The entire scene was mesmerizing to me and it made me forget all the hustle and bustle us adults get too caught up in during the holidays.
In a grand old train station in the middle of America my wife and I received an early holiday surprise. For a few hours, we forgot about our worries, our responsibilities and we were young again. As I walked past another gleaming tree on my way out of Union Station it occurred to me: if a couple of middle aged adults can become wide eyed kids again, then how can one doubt the Magic of Christmas?!