The Polar Express..."A Grandma's Story"
"We had a GREAT time... and then we had to get on the train."
Yes...that's a quote from my darling daughter Tanna, about our much anticipated Polar Express train ride last night.
Being in love with the Polar Express book and the movie, we all were drooling at the prospect of going on this fantasy train ride to the North Pole. We have five - one year old grand babies that are looking forward to Christmas this year (ok...maybe they don't quite "get" the whole Santa and his reindeer thing yet but they will) so I gladly paid $22.00 for my ticket since this was going to be a "magical ride we'd remember for years to come.
My daughters (mothers of twins and triplets) have both been looking feverishly for weeks for matching Christmas PJ's for their little tots. Finally
We were to be at the station 30 minutes before time to board the train and all went smoothly. Mommies, Daddies, babies and I all showed up dressed appropriately with warm clothes and coats. Some passengers even had fuzzy hats and gloves on and for an instant I wondered if we were under dressed. Cameras were flashing while we feverishly took pictures of the babies who by this time were having a ball toddling around beside the train admiring each others new duds. There were elves running amongst the passengers which added to the overall effect of this magical event.
Finally, "ALL ABOARD" was heard so we rushed to what was going to be our most anticipated adventure. Tara and Rusty carried Brynly and Breigh aboard the train while I followed with Dakota in my arms. Tanna waited outside with a baby boy in each of her arms waiting for
As we entered the train we were met with a huge wave of heat...kind of like walking into a man sized oven with the temperature set to "pre-heat." We ambled to our seats where Tara and Brynly sat in the seat by the window, Rusty and Breigh in the middle and
The train's decorations consisted of a few spindly sprigs of garland and a plastic bell or two (which
The conductor, quite nice even though he was NOT Tom Hanks, welcomed us all. As he wiped the sweat from his brow, he grinned shakily telling us the train ride "might roll a bit from side to side and not to worry." Well, we thought, "How bad could it be, for Heaven's sake...and if it did roll a bit, it would just add to the adventure!"
Finally the moment we had all waited for was at hand...the train was leaving the station! We were packed in like sardines in a too small can dabbing at the sweat trickling down our forheads. Choo choo.... we were off! Within seconds I was holding on to the side of my seat with one hand while trying to hang on to Kota so she wouldn't fly across the aisle... um... yes a wee bit of "rolling" indeed!
During all this I was still trying to capture the "magic moment" with my camera which was SURE to happen any second now, when some helpers with "Chef's hats" started up and down the aisle talking to the passengers. Well, one took a liking to our little group and even though
After a bit,
The jolly old elf finally departed our train. Then a few helpers hesitantly walked out holding some wrinkled sheets of paper with from what I could see, words to Christmas songs. I fleetingly wondered why they weren't more prepared and at least had learned the words to Frosty the Snowman but I gave them the benefit of the doubt and kept quiet. An elf spoke up and said "Who wants to come up and sing with me?" A few brave souls raised their hands and one little girl slowly went forward. The elf began singing "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer." I honestly could not believe my ears... If you can imagine being given a sheet of paper with words only of a song you've never heard in your life and had no idea of the tune... and then told to sing it...this is exactly how she sounded. She began the worst rendition I've EVER HEARD in my life of Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer. The little girl she'd called up to be her "helper" looked like she was about to cry but bravely stood there and sung along with the girl that sang like the actor, "Boris Karloff" on crack. We in the audience were stunned but tried to sing along. As I looked over I saw
Thank goodness we were made to sit through only a few "happy songs." As the train was within 10 or 15 minutes of taking us back home and out of our misery.... the lights on the train started to sputter. A voice nervously told us not to worry...there had been a slight electrical problem earlier but all would be fine. A few more flickers of lights going on and off and then it happened. PITCH BLACK!!! Babies started to bawl and there were moans and grumblings from overheated parents and grandparents wondering what the heck was going to happen next. The little amount of cool air that HAD been trickling into that overheated train ride to...well you know where... stopped and there we were, like trapped rats holding sweaty bawling squirming babies and wondering when it would all end. The conductor came out and plied us with more lies saying that we were only TWO minutes from home. Rusty, by this time was threatening to pull off all his clothes as sweat was pouring from his poor body. The conductor told us they were going to open the doors on the moving train to cool things off and would we please not walk up and down the aisles (as we were pitching violently from side to side) because he would not want us falling off the train. To me...this sounded like a good thing so I briefly considered hurling myself out the door and into cool air... I did however come to my senses because
After being told several times our destination was near, the train finally stopped and we were home! It was still pitch black except for a cell phone light or two and by this time most bawling babies had worn themselves out. As for
It started out as a night that would start this Christmas season off in fine fashion...and ended truly as one of the most memorable nights of our lives!