Tuesday, April 29, 2014

McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park

There's a picture in our family archives of my father on Christmas morning, 1985. He's sitting on the floor by the Christmas tree with a brown bath robe over his pajamas. With hair is untidy from sleep, and his two young daughters just outside the camera view, he is smiling, holding up a box with a brown train engine inside. It's the City of New Orleans, the Green Diamond, otherwise known as the Illinois Central. He received the entire set of model train HO scale cars along with it; a baggage car, a vista dome, and a mail car to name . This was his first model train.

Several years later, after we moved to another town, and his box of train cars was rediscovered in the moving mix, he set them up and ran them around. My sister and I were young, and to us, these looked like fabulous toys. Eventually, dad came around to the idea that his girls needed their own trains, and he passed on the tradition of model railroading. 

I remember going to multiple train shows as a child. Dad would spend hours walking around, admiring the layouts, looking at vintage trains worth hundreds of dollars, and shopping, lots of shopping. Over the years, I acquired a silver diesel engine (I picked it out based on looks) as well as a circus steamer. It was bright yellow with red detail, and I could pour a special liquid into the funnel to make it puff smoke as it trekked around the layout. I haven't seen or played with my engines in over a decade, but the memories of how special it was to share something with my dad stuck with me.

When I first took Carrick to the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park in Scottsdale, I was overwhelmed by these memories. This park is where several area model rail road clubs have their layouts. Since we have been going there, they have built an enormous air-conditioned building that houses three different rail road gauge layouts, O, HO, and N scales. The G scale layout is actually outside. G scale is "Garden" scale and is used as a feature for outdoor model railroading.

The first time I ever took Carrick to this park, I thought, "Dad needs to see this." Yesterday, after over three years of telling him about it, we finally took him there. He was able to share this experience with both of his grandchildren. My son, who is 5, was able to appreciate it on another level that he and dad could share. Sure, riding the train around the park was fun, and the carousel was a blast, but the best part for me was seeing my dad and my son walk around the layouts in the model railroad building. I felt like a kid again, except this time, I was watching dad share the generational wisdom of model railroading with someone else I cared about.

Love you dad, that was $17.00 Fun Dollars that I will never forget.

Breakfast on the road- $7.00
Book of 12 tickets for the train and carousel- $10.00

Happy Spending!

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