The Gingerbread Train


Look who came to visit me last weekend!

It was my custodial time this past weekend and even better is it’s an even numbered year so that means good ole dad gets the Thanksgiving long weekend!  Without going into logistics my not so little girl is going to get to spend three weekends in a row with me and Miss Madison!  To say she is super stoked would be an understatement.  I could get her as early as Wednesday since her school thinks Thanksgiving Eve is a good reason to shut down her school, but my employer doesn’t share the same sentiments on time off so she won’t be back in the friendly confines of Indiana until Thursday.


Sloane makes every where sunnier when she is around!

By our standards, it was a ho-hum weekend for all of us.  Other than saving 26 endangered fish from the Ohio River and passing out $100.00 bills to the less fortunate, not much was going on.  Unless you are new around here, then you already know those previous two sentences were what is known in certain circles as “bullshit!”  When Sloane, dad, and the Miss Madisonions get together you already know the rules of fun were going to get rewritten again!  Friday night Sloane was itching to get her hands on another product review that I had gotten just for her, so while she tended to that I finished up some light reading (National Enquirer) and whipped some 10-year-old Russian prodigy in online chess.  This was just the warm up for another fantastic weekend!


Hmmm, what did Skipah get into now!

For the second year in a row, we attended the annual gingerbread house craft show.  The Jefferson County Historical Society puts together this $7.00 entertainment bargain bonanza every year for the area children to start their own path to civil engineering degrees.  With graham crackers doubling as siding, icing pretending to be mortar, and enough candy and sweets for housing decorations that the local Brach’s salesman is probably wondering if he had a shipment stolen, the gang all erected the finest in gingerbread real estate.



While watching Sloane, Miss Madison Jr. & The Turtle Man slinging icing at each other, a calm Zen like moment overcame my body.  I felt a presence in the force I hadn’t felt since I was a young lad.  A warm fuzzy feeling came over me like I had just finished watching Apollo 13 for the 39th time.  What is that loud groan I’m hearing?  Only the scene where Lovell (Hanks) and the crew return to earth and Ed Harris’s character gives an Oscar winning performance gets me every time.  What was this strange sensation overcoming me, you are probably wondering?

I fell in love again that’s what!  No, not with Miss Madison, with my main man Lionel and his gang of train vigilantes!  Screw gingerbread houses and all things historical in Jefferson County!  Not one, two, three, but FOUR electric/model trains were on one gigantic sheet of plywood sharing space with the future architects.  I’ve had a crush on these things since the first time I remember laying eyes on them.  I was recreating The Great Train Robbery (good book, not so good movie) in my head.  All I needed was permission to plug everything in and adorn myself in my best train engineer garb, and I would be hauling coal from West Virginia to California!  If I had the funds and the room, I would turn a 1000 square foot garage into a Grand Central Station.  To say I have a love for model trains would be an understatement.  Don’t believe me, take a look!


I haven’t had this much fun since the last time I killed a mosquito!

Saturday evening Miss Madison had some family in town, so of course we spread our love in their direction.  I whipped up my award winning chili for Miss Madison’s Iowa Delegation (they hale from Iowa) and they returned the favor by letting everyone gawk at their newest contribution to the human race, also known as Miss Madison’s niece.  To the best of my knowledge, Sloane has never seen a six-week-old baby, but now she suddenly wants ten of them!  Pass me the bottle Otis, I don’t think I can handle ten grandkids in 45 years when Sloane starts having them!  No forty-five wasn’t a typo!  The “baby” fever in Miss Madison’s eyes was cute, but I politely reminded her only the rich and celebrities have babies at my age!  I just got zapped with a taser gun for that last sentence and for not mentioning Miss Madison has her own blue ribbon “veggie” chili (this is a thing) that she makes for the vegetarians in her family.


Since the weather had me wishing I had a vacation home in Australia this past weekend, there wasn’t a ton of outdoor play to be had.  Instead Sloane turned into Buddy the Elf, and with Miss Madison’s help our hacienda now looks like the ghost of Christmas puked all over the place.  I’ve never seen a person go from happy to ecstatic like Sloane when the Christmas decorations come out.  I of course was trying to talk Tom Turkey and his militia from dive bombing our house while this was going on.  Thankfully a peace accord was reached, and I gave them the coordinates to a certain abode in Kentucky to take their frustrations out on.

Sunday afternoon was another solemn day as most of them are with Sloane anymore.  The closer the clock gets to the witching hour to take her back to her Kentucky prison, the quieter she gets and the more she stalls.  I’ve promised her I’m doing everything I can (I am, these things take time and stupidity from others) to extradite her back to her home state.  Festive Fridays when I pick her up become Sorrow Sundays when it is time to go.  It sucks for her, it breaks my heart a little at a time, and right now there isn’t a damn thing I can do about it until I feel like funding another attorney’s youngest child college fund.

About it for now, Toyota just dropped me an email, so I could be the ultimate chick magnet cruising in my Prius soon.  Looking forward to some bonus Sloane time, and stay tuned for some breaking news from yours truly!

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  3. Hoping you had a Happy Thanksgiving. 🙂

  4. Happy belated turkey day! Enjoy your weekends!

  5. Happy turkey eating day! Don’t forget the pumpkin pies!

    Your daughter knows you both love her and want her to live with you. Hate the government rules too! Just keep getting her as much as possible until she gets to move in permanently!

  6. Happy Thanksgiving Gary, I always enjoy reading your articles, too good! That award winning chili looks delicious

  7. Happy Thanksgiving from us Californians temporarily transplanted to Eastern Washington and enduring a wonderfully cold Thanksgiving! Enjoy every minute with your family!

  8. My uncle loves trains too. He used to set one up going around his tree.

  9. I have an old train setup, complete with steam and all. This makes me want to get it out and play now! Hope you can get that precious girl all to yourself man!

  10. Happy Thanksgiving, my friend! Gobble gobble!

  11. A lot of this post makes me reflect on my childhood…lionel trains, markers, and Skipah — I own that exact tablecloth!
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your crew 😀

  12. Cool beans. I absolutely love Ginger Bread house exhibits. Conner Prairie up Indianapolis way has a swell yearly do. It’s also a competition. The Eiteljorg Museum downtown Indy has a super fantastic train exhibit this time of year every year. My grandson has some days coming his way. Maybe, we’ll scoot around and see the 2016 versions of these cool holiday visuals. He typically leaves me in the dust, but it’s together time, even if I’m on the chase. Super post, and a great reminder to love ’em and have fun with ’em while they’re still young!

  13. I’m happy you all had fun. Your chili looks amazing Gary.

  14. Awww… Miss Madison’s niece sure is gorgeous! 😊 I can now say that without feeling broody!! 😜 Enjoy your weekend time with your gorgeous girlies!

  15. Hope you have a marvelous Thanksgiving.

Tell Skipah all about it!

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