Hang out with some little kids for a while and you’ll realize how amazing EVERYTHING is. Maybe you have trains or trolleys or streetcars or railcars or funiculars or electric buses or rickshaws in your hometown. But have you ever just watched them? The noise, the size, the movement, it’s amazing. No, I haven’t been eating any special brownies, dude. But these things are incredible if you just sit and watch. Kids make you do that, even if you’re trying to get them home for dinner. Nope, Babbo, we’re just going to climb up into this locomotive and watch trolleys go by. [ding ding ding] I hear a train coming! I HEAR A TRAIN COMING!! TRAIN COMING BABBO!!!
We are lucky to have a locomotive and several train cars in a train depot museum right in town, walking distance from home. All the levers, valves, heavy steel, gears, and all the mechanical accoutrements of a functional steam locomotive, they are all there ready to be explored by little hands. Is there a firebox with a child-sized hatch that can be swung open with a screech, revealing a blackness you thought only existed deep underground with miles-deep fissures filled with blind translucent creatures? Check. Hand cranks that will suddenly release, launching you backward toward sharp metal poindexters? Check. Unforgiving slabs of steel right at forehead height for a toddler? Check. Tiny ladders and steps leading up to the top of the locomotive that were only for husky-voiced engineers with beards like steel wool, which now have little signs saying “Please do not climb” but entice children with the possibility of BEING ON TOP OF THE TRAIN? Check. How about an opening where you can catch your heel, stumble backwards, and fall cranium-first on concrete five feet below with the sound and color of a bag of gazpacho being dropped from a great height? Check.
See, this is me thinking like a Nervous Nelly. A worrier. A parent. What do kids think of this train? It’s really fun, Babbo. Let’s just wait for one more trolley to come by. Just one more. Wait…do you hear that? TRAIN COMING!!