Wednesday, December 8, 2010
The Polarizing Express
Two years ago, my sons decided that they were old enough to ride the mall’s Christmas train without me. I was relieved when they chose to ride in the caboose thinking they would be safer in there than riding in the open seats. As the train began moving, all seemed well. But, as the end of the caboose came into sight, there stood my 4-year-old on the caboose’s platform hanging on to the rail surveying the view. The only thing standing between him and the track was a thin rope “gate”. I yelled and pointed to get the driver’s attention. The driver, a young, hip African American guy with long flowing braids, seemed a little out of place in this winter wonderland, and, I’m sure, had better things to do than deal with naughty kids. He stopped the train, walked to the back, and gave a verbal warning. But before he could return to the “engine”, my son had jumped off the back of the train and was walking around in the “snow”. Again, I motioned to the driver who returned to the back of the train, chased my son back into the caboose, and “locked” the rope gate again. The train ride ended quickly after only one turn around the track. My kids were delivered safely to the depot and I gathered them quickly trying to avoid eye contact with the other waiting parents. Hurridly, we left the mall that day with heads hung low having lost our golden tickets and without a single, silver bell in sight.