Sunday, October 09, 2005

Item from the Past: Columbus Day, 2000

A note from when Lilly was about the same age as Ann is now.

Today, actual Columbus Day, I went at work, though I had Monday off. That happened to be federal Columbus Day, as well as Yom Kippur, and “Canadian Thanksgiving.” That’s what the calendar says, anyway. Perhaps the very first Jewish-Italian-Canadian holiday. I’m for any holiday that lets me sleep late.

Speaking of Canada, the Sun-Times, which features an amusing column called Quick Takes (a sort of mild News of the Weird) ran this about the recent death of PM Trudeau: “News Item: ‘MONTREAL — Former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, a flamboyant and charismatic giant who led the country through some of its most tumultuous events…’ Name one.”

On Sunday we repaired to the Illinois Railroad Museum in Union, Illinois, just far enough northwest of the Chicago conurbation to maintain cornfields. We had been to the IRR Museum before, in 1997, in the summer before Lilly was born. We decided then that by a certain age, the child would probably enjoy an outing to this place, which sports many old railroad cars of all descriptions and conditions.

Recently, it occurred to us that Lilly was ready for it. “Choo-choo train” was an early word of hers, and she’s fond of watching them go by. Since the museum closes for the season at the end of October, and since I didn’t have to work on Monday, we decided that last weekend was the weekend for it. On Sundays, also, the museum runs some of the engines plus passenger cars on the few miles of track that it owns, one of which snakes out between farms and next to nameless tiny tributaries of the Mississippi. It was a good visit, though cold and windy that day — about 40-45° F, the coldest it has been during the day in many months (yesterday it was in the 60s and maybe even 70, and it’s still pleasant today). We rode two of the trains and when into several train sheds and looked at the rows of engines and other cars, climbing into some. We were correct, the time had come for Lilly to enjoy it; she did, in her toddler way.

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