Saturday, April 09, 2005


Last weekend, we were in Foat Wuth – Where the West Begins – to visit the Family of the Missus.

Aside from the obvious value of Family Visitation, two other things impelled us to go. Number One is that Bro In-Law d’Elisson was celebrating a second Bar Mitzvah (the first having been conducted 32 years ago in a much less observant religious environment). Number Two was our two-and-a-half year-old nephew William (son of the other Bro In-Law d’Elisson), who exerts an intense gravitic pull on his Auntie SWMBO. He’s like a toddler Neutron Star, sucking in everything that approaches.

Nephew William.

The “Rebar-Mitzvah” went swimmingly. It was a semi-intimate little gathering, with services held at the home of the local Chabad rabbi (yes, there is a Chabad rabbi in Foat Wuth). Yours truly had the honors of reading the Maftir and Haftarah texts (from the books of Numbers and Ezekiel, respectively), and Bro In-Law d’Elisson gave a smashing d’var Torah on the issue of Ahavas Israel – loving one’s fellow Jew. Bro’s speech was elegantly constructed, flawlessly delivered, scholarly, and spoke to an important social and religious issue.

The food was pretty good, too.

As far as young Nephew William was concerned, however, the Big Event of the Weekend was the following day’s adventure at the Grapevine Railway Museum. That was where we took him to enjoy a “Day Out with Thomas.”

Thomas, for those of you without Youthful Offspring, is Thomas the Tank Engine, a little train who, along with his multifarious railway-oriented friends, has been amusing children for over sixty years. Thomas is a star of books, television, and numerous videos. The last time I mentioned Thomas in a post, the Bakerina referred to him as “crack for toddlers.” How true.

And there sure were a lot of “Track Addicts” there in Grapevine, Texas last Sunday. Every frickin’ kid in the state under the age of six was there, along with parents who had been dragooned into taking them to see a life-size, fully-functional version of Thomas. You could even take a ride with Thomas, who had been hooked up to several old-style railway cars (the Tarantula line, for you Local Citizens), for damn near a double sawbuck per. No “toddler discount,” either.

Ridin’ Thomas.

The freaky thing about Thomas is that, like his friends from the fictitious Island of Sodor, he has a face. A Gawd-damn face.

Thomas the Tank Engine.

Now imagine, if you will, a guy driving home from the graveyard shift at the local Dr Pepper bottling plant. He’s a little woozy – can’t wait to get home and jump into bed. And he’s stopped at a railroad crossing…when Thomas the freaking Tank Engine comes chugging by, complete with rolling eyes and gaping grin.


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