THE POLAR EXPRESS!
An adventure for young and old, and a fantasy for Texana Lane come true. Sounds trite, I know; but once I learned that there is an actual train that brings the book to life, I HAD to go. I wanted to say hello to my inner child again. So, for my 70 year bucket list, I did it! To add to the fun, I did it with my wonderful friends of all ages, who are definitely well beyond their childhood years.
There we were, all 9 of us, adult women sitting in our PJs, along with hundreds of families dressed in matching PJs, too. Teddy Bears abounded as they watched with glazed, glass-eyed wonder. Elves and Santa’s helpers danced along the aisles, serving hot chocolate and cookies and sweet smiles. Children sat speechless as they anticipated what was about to happen, eyes searching for clues.
Everyone settled in quickly. The music began. The train began moving…ever so slowly.
WE were off!
The vintage railroad engine cars shot billows of smoke and tooted their horns with gusto. I quickly lifted my screenless window so nothing would come between me, the fresh, brisk December air and my fantasy. Then I poked my head outside like any curious child would do and settled back in for a sentimental ride to the North Pole.
I can’t necessarily tell you what the scene looked like, but I can tell you what it felt like.
It felt like I had wandered back into Garland, TX, It felt like I had just seen my Mama walk into Mrs. Toler’s second-grade class looking beautiful in her pink dress and sharing lunch with me, making me the proudest second grader…ever!
It felt like I was a little girl, sitting in my tiny, red leather rocking chair scanning every book I could find or every book my Mama had checked out for me at the Garland Library during hot summer days.
It felt like sitting in my Mammaw’s lap, rocking back and forth in her squeaky rocker while my Pappaw played his harmonica or while they read the Scriptures together.
It felt like me…the child who lives within and is ever-so-grateful for such an entitled childhood. It felt like love. It felt like family.
Scents, colors, and so many memories flooded across my heart.
It was the perfect Christmas gift to myself.
As Santa sauntered down the aisle, “Ho!Ho!Ho!” handing out jingle bells, I, too, had meandered down my road of childhood memories, (an excursion that’s definitely not traveled often enough).
Looking back, I had visions of bowls of hard candy, chocolate-covered cherries, Daddy trimming the tree, Christmas Eve nights, manger scenes and glistening lights. Memories that I hadn’t thought of in years.
Yet, there I was, traveling to the North Pole and back, in a train filled with families wearing matching PJs, heartfelt dreams, hardworking parents and gleeful children.
Yes. The POLAR EXPRESS adventure proved to be just what I needed…An abundance of friends, laughter, good memories, and gratefulness for a life well lived.
ALL ABOARD! I invite you to share my adventures as I turn seventy and travel into another decade of abundant life and love. It’s all about the journey. It’s all about the attitude vs gratitude.
Keep the faith this week while you shop, drop, cook, and simply share in kindness. Some of us don’t have a special someone or a family to share the love. So, think about who might need your smile, a cordial comment, a shoulder to cry on.
Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all who celebrate at this time.
Texana Lane…”Who never puts her wishbone where her backbone ‘otta be.”