Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Good Times

Growing is hard.  And more difficult than the growth is knowing where to draw the line between comfort and growing.  Usually, comfort does not breed real growth!

Like a plant sprouting against the weight of soil, or a bird taking flight, and just as an athlete trains for a marathon, progress and growth normally requires fighting against the good enough, resisting the urge to stagnate.  Comfort will not encourage growth in itself.  

Take operations.  At the most recent operating session on Tony Koester's NKP, there was a dearth of qualified operators.  I was 'voluntold' - volunteered by others - for the role.  Thankfully, Jim Schweitzer is a good friend and a great mentor, and took me under his wing to show me the ropes.  Suddenly here I was copying train orders and 'on-sheeting' trains past my locations for the dispatcher.  

At such an important layout, with some amazing and long-qualified operators, it is a stressful situation being cast into a role that is a leadership role like this.  It is uncomfortable and creates anxiety.  Why would we do this as part of a hobby?

I will argue that we do it as a service to the layout owner, who is looking to create memories.  And we do it as a service to all the other operating modelers that have driven far to come to a good session.  We are stepping up, as they say:  trying to help by doing what others won't or can't do, for the good of those others.  It is not always fun, but it does always feel good to get some of it right.

Doug Watts, a great friend in the hobby and a brother on the road of life, was there - and his quick smile and easy demeanor always helps.  Here we are side Tony's model of Frankfort, IN and the big yard there.  The smiles say it all!

Good times are good, sometimes as much for the effort we apply as for the experience itself.  

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Making Spaces

We don't mean to run out of space.  Most of us modelers don't have a goal of having too little room.  It is just that the hobby is getting so good, so satisfying, and so exciting that the equipment just tends to accumulate.  

But, in the end, that means we run out of space. For years I was avoiding this little project, and finally made it happen over the Christmas break this year.  The old dresser, which had been my brother's when we were growing up in Long Valley, NJ, was pressed into a second life as locomotive storage years ago.  It was good til it filled up.  Now, by adding a slideable shelf as a second level, I have added capacity for another 16 locomotives.

 Railings front and rear were installed and a piece of plywood then cut to fit neatly over the rails. It was about two hours work, but solved a problem for some time to come!

That is, until I dig into a few more new locomotives and get them in service.  When that happens.....I will be out of space, again.