Thursday, January 13, 2011

I Love That You Love It

--Adrienne Miller

My family has an obsession with trains. My parents have it, my kids too. And, as if to prove that it’s not tied to some quirky Miller family gene, my husband has it as well. Everybody, it seems, but me. 

Look, a lovely family picture.
Taken, of course, on a train.
Big trains. Little ones. Toy trains or real trains, it doesn’t matter. They love them all. And when I say love, I mean *Love* them. My boys have buckets--no, really, buckets--of them. The whole family has annual memberships to not one or two, but three local train museums. And it’s not just the engines that they love. My father has a collection of antique railway china that’s worth a small fortune. 
They all have their own favorite railroading periods. They know the names and numbers of famous engines and cars. They know what line went where and when it stopped running.
Pretend trains count too.

I love that they have it, this shared joy, but for the life of me, I just don’t see the beauty there. I know it exists. I’ve seen it shining in their eyes every time we take a big family trip out to the Sacramento and the state railroad museum. All I can see is a molded mass of metal, pistons and whistles and domes, a hunk of iron and steel that was useful a hundred years ago if you needed to get yourself to Chicago and back. No matter how hard I try, I just can’t see the poetry in it.
There are few constants in life, but I can guarantee if we pass by anything that is even vaguely train shaped one of my children will be plopped on top of it and their picture will be taken.

Of course, I have my own loves. Some of which my family and I share, but some of the others, not so much. I get that not everybody is keen to wander around cities on foot for hours on end with no particular destination in mind. I can also understand that everyone might not be as stirred by the subject of religious symbology as I am. 
But then there are the ones I just can’t understand. I gave my mother a copy of Pride and Prejudice once. She returned it a few days later, saying that she couldn’t get past the beginning. It was boring, she said.
Boring. Pride and Prejudice. I shook my head. She just couldn’t see the poetry in it. Just like I can’t with the trains. 
Which is fine. There are we love and things we don’t. It’ll have to be enough that I love that they love it. 

And they do love it.


Juliet Blackwell said...

The only train I truly love is Thomas, because of the many, many, MANY hours of fun he gave my toddler son. Boy doesn't care for trains much anymore, but there for a while they gave his life meaning ;-)

Rachael Herron said...

Sooooo cute! I never felt a thing about trains. But you know Bethany used to drive them, right? I thought that was so cool....

Tom Neely said...

..and we love that you love that we love it. Great post darlin'.

Mystii said...

My poetry professor once asked me how computer code could be "elegant," and I think train love is a related phenomenon (I only love the life-sized ones).

There's a form and function perfect-match thing (like with a gun), a romance of bygone era (Orient Express!), and myth of the West all rolled up into one.

I'm taking the slow train to Santa Fe for LCC, but too many parts of that train are made of plastic or indoor-outdoor carpet to be the same as donning a cloche hat and gloves for the ride from Paris to Istanbul...

Gigi Pandian said...

Adrienne -- I didn't realize until today that we were switched at birth!

Trains are awesome. (And yes, I played with cars and trains as a child instead of dolls.)

L.G.C. Smith said...

I like riding on trains a lot. When I lived in Switzerland, that was how I got around, and I loved how clean and on time they were. My husband comes from a railroad family from way back, however, so I'm well aware that liking train rides is not the same as loving trains. Your boys -- they LOVE trains. And you're right, it's an extremely lovable trait. :)

I'm still goggling over anyone thinking "Pride and Prejudice" is boring. Uffda. Them thar's fightin' words.

Martha Flynn said...

I still take the train to Chicago. :) Maybe we can "train-trip" it one day!