Something on which I have been reflecting lately is the incredible variety of activities that fill the vast majority of time in my life. I am fortunate for health and for the ability to contribute in so many ways. Memorial Day fills me with the deepest of gratitude for our way of life, and the spiritual debt that we all owe to members of the services that have paid the ultimate sacrifice. In my own small way, I hope to honor what they and their families have given.
Longtime readers will remember what a wild and trying few years I had as I entered my 40th year of life, between the passing of family elders and my father, new birth and my own surgery (at nearly the same time), regular and growing articles and authoring a book, navigating major changes at work, leading a department through crises at work, all while being a husband and father and friend and creator.
And while railroading, professionally and as a hobby, in both full-size trains and models, has always been a central calling in my heart, the debt of gratitude for my family is unparalleled.
Sharing the passion for railroading is one of the best things about it, and Teddy (and Pete!) have caught the spirit of it in their own lives. They offer help, their insatiable wonder, their smiles, and enthusiastic companionship - what more could a dad ask?
Susie is developing a love for live music, and having the ability to share that passion of mine with her is a true pleasure, too. Music is a soundtrack for life and Susie is right there to embrace it!
Pete, our youngest and most rambunctious, is a big personality who loves with a big heart, and is developing an incredible ability to remember things. We explore new things together and he's always up for adventure. Here we found a nice, new Norfolk Southern RR 'Gradall' machine at a local favorite spot. Pete was thrilled!
Learning more and more about life and about railroading with dad is a pastime for each of the kids and I think helps them see more of the world around them.
Central to all three children is Kristen, whom also entered her 40's this spring and who is the most important person in my world. She's the one that keeps the learning on track, both at school and at home - she's a well of nearly endless patience and compassion. Here's mama with her cubs on a woods walk near our home on Mother's Day 2022, with spring in bloom, cool wet air allowing the detail of the woods to come to life.
These are all the sorts of family things we do, and in my 40s I have found myself squarely in the front pew of life. My parents and many elders have passed away, mentors have moved on. Others remain but the direct line to the top now is my responsibility on which to deliver. When a hobby can be woven through all the fabric of life like railroading and music are for me, all of those things ebb and flow, and each of them works to balance out others.
As we enjoy a holiday weekend, let's be grateful for all that is good in our lives, and thankful for those that have paid the ultimate price in defending it.