This past Saturday we joined Calder and Gramma C on their annual outing to the Corvallis Society of Model Engineer's open house.
What is it about these model railroad clubs? A place where, mostly, retired men go to build miniature worlds to drive little trains around. It's a complex set up. An infinite amount of detail. And it's always changing, developing, growing.
There's humor and sophistication.
It looks like great fun.
I wonder what attracts them to it. Is it a return to a childhood passion? Did they used to work on the railroad? Is it a sense of power they get from lording over a miniature world, working with others to avoid collisions while trying to "get the mail there on time"?
(Seriously, there was a second floor balcony with no less than 4 guys up there in headsets controlling things, then another headset-ed guy down on the main floor at a booth with video screens, and yet more fellows amongst the tracks fixing derailed cars and other minor emergencies. Through the chatter of the onlookers and the canned audio of trains and station noise you could hear the guy at the booth say things like, "Santa Claus, you're clear to Mill City.")
Whatever it is, my boy is hooked. And I love that we can visit these "dens" and peer into the miniature worlds and watch the guys who built it show off their pride and the product of all their hard work. And there is a lot of work here. A lot of hours and a lot of love. I've got to call it art.