Friday, May 29, 2015

"Friendly Fridays... Just a bizarre dream?"

So, I'm the only passenger in a car rolling along an undulating country road in the absolute middle of Nowhere, VT. The deep baritone voice of the driver is recounting story after story of model railroad legends and lore, while lamenting the lack of a nearby McDonalds. Approaching what looks like a deserted railroad crossing, he ignores the admonition of the GPS and pulls onto a graveled area with a caravan of other cars. It's a veritable oasis amidst the endless fields.

We get out to examine an old depot, but a wildly gesticulating figure bellows to us from across the road... something about selling model railroad equipment from a shipping container in his backyard. Well of course he is. What else would that big fellow be doing here in the middle of Nowhere, VT?

An unseen force descends upon a dozen middle-aged men who march zombie-like towards the unseen container and disappear around the corner of the modest ranch like lemmings over the proverbial cliff. It's the only home within 360. But the deep-voiced driver sees a photo opportunity and focuses on the old railway depot for a potential magazine article. I stand smack in the middle of the road assessing the circumstances.

"Yes, this is all very logical," I assured myself. "Nothing unusual here."

My chauffeur, and regular hobby columnist, has identified a potential article idea in Leicester Junction, VT. You can see the finished product in the May 2014 issue of Model Railroader. Turns out that maybe the shipping container's owner was a marketing genius!

Jim Koerner emphasizes to a bemused  Henry Freeman that the old Rutland RR is now inadequately maintained by the Vermont Railway, while Jerry Dziedzic looks more interested in catching up to Dave Olesen, John Rogers and Ted Pamperin. "C'mon guys, the shipping container is just around the corner. Hurry!"

Here is undoubtedly the best stocked hobby shop/shipping container anywhere. Pricing was very negotiable and selection was extensive, especially if you were interested in New England road names. "Anyone see any B&O stuff?  ...  Damn!"

Once the dust had settled, literally, we learned that this  entrepreneur was actually handling the estate of his late father-in-law who had been an avid hobbyist. It was a Field of Dreams moment where the universe aligned perfectly putting person, time and place unexpectedly together.

What did I pick up? That's a story for another day. "But it's a really good story!"



True or false? The quote in today's final line was spoken by farmer Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) to author Terrance Mann (James Earl Jones) in the film referenced above.

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