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Monday, May 19, 2008

Monday Mug Shot

Huckleberry Railroad at Cross Roads Village
Flint, Michigan

Crossroads Village and the Huckleberry Railroad is an attraction in Flint, Michigan. There is an old world village with working shops and 35 minute steam train excursions that, when I was there, included the train being held up at “gun” point by bandana wearing train robbers with a shoot out that passengers could watch out the windows. Yes, a bit cheese-ball, but entertaining.

I went for a day at Crossroads Village with my Mom just a few years ago...

It was August of 1992. The Huckleberry Railroad restoration shops were open for rail fan weekend to members of the National Railroad Historical Society (NRHS) and a guest. Mom was my “and guest” as she often was for train stuff. No, Mom wasn’t a rail fan, but I wasn‘t a big boat fan either and I was her “and guest” when she wanted to go look at boats. We did a lot of train and boat things together.

It was a very cool day! The restoration shops were not open to the public and only open to the registered historical rail fans occasionally. We got to see engines, cars and cabooses in different states of despair to repair and ask any questions we had about what they were doing in the restoration process. My first real interests in trains beyond riding them or looking at them and saying “oooo pretty,” were steam powered locomotives and the engines on the Huckleberry Railroad were vintage steam. I love being by the open windows on steam excursions and having the air and cooled ash hit my face. Yeah, okay, so maybe that’s strange, but generally, I’ve always accepted that fans of trains are regarded as strange anyway!

After touring the shops, Mom and I went on that fateful train ride that got held up by desperadoes before going into Crossroads Village to see the old railroad town and stop at the gift shop. That’s where I got this mug and my squished penny.*

The drive home was talk about the restoration shops, that Mom enjoyed too, but with the knowledge that now, I definitely owed her some lake freighters!

* When I was a child, my brother and I would sneak out through the hole in the fence at the playground by my Noni’s house to put pennies on the train tracks when a train was coming. We’d stand back and watch the trains go by and then retrieve our squished beyond recognition pennies. When they started making those machines that embossed the pennies as souvenirs it was a natural attraction for me!

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