A few weeks ago the local news reported a classic steam locomotive would be making an excursion to Asheville. My Dad, a serious steam engine train enthusiast, asked if I wanted to go with him to see it role in. He thought I might like taking some pictures of it. “Sure Dad, I’ll go with you.” I would like to take pictures of it, but mostly thought it would be nice to spend a little time with him.
The day the steam locomotive arrived was this past Sunday. Dad called me Saturday to remind me. I was just coming off battling a 3 day flu bug, but was feeling better on Saturday even if not 100%. I thought I would feel even better on Sunday, but said that maybe we should take 2 cars just in case I decided I needed to leave.
The train was scheduled to arrive at 12:30pm, so we planned to meet a little after 12:00pm. I arrived shortly after 12:00 as planned. A crowd had already gathered, but it wasn’t too bad. I got out of the car, scanned the crowd for a little bit, but I couldn’t find my Dad anywhere.
Oh. Good. Lord.
That means I have to call his cell phone. He uses his cell phone about as much as a parakeet. I don’t even know the number by heart. I hope it’s in my list of contacts. Ah, it is. Here goes…
He answered!! Alleluia!
“I’m here Dad, but I don’t see you.”
“I’m sitting in the car.”
“Where’s the car?”
“Over here by the parked freight cars.”
I walk over to the car and get in the passenger seat.
“Why are you sitting in the car, Dad?”
“So I’m not outside in the cold.”
“It’s nice and sunny outside. It’s not cold today. Don’t you want to get out so you can get a good spot to see the train?”
“I can see when the train is starting to come from here.” He points out his driver side window.
Just then a very tall SUV pulls into the parking spot on the driver’s side.
“Well, I can’t see anything now.”
So out we get out of the car and go into the freight yard to pick a perfect spot to view the train. We wait. The train is late.
And then she came! An hour late, but that’s OK!
Dad was happy. (sorry about orange shirt girl. She wouldn’t move.)
Next they moved the train into the freight yard so the passengers could depart and browse nearby Biltmore Village for a couple hours.
Seems this wasn’t just any steam locomotive. Apparently, No. 611 was one of fourteen Class ‘J’ passenger locomotives built for the Norfolk & Western Railway between 1941 and 1950 and the only one in existence today.
Pretty cool stuff.
Even cooler, spending the time with Dad. I only wish I had gotten a picture of us together. For some reason I never can remember to get my cell phone out and take pictures when I have my camera with me. I have to remember that! But I had such a good time.
Dad’s, gotta love ’em.
I love you, Dad.