Let It Grow Organic Gardens

And I resumed the struggle. -Vladimir

Monday, July 25, 2005

My Journey To The Mystical Isle of Sodor

started late, as can be expected. Up reasonably but not too terribly early, I picked squash and watered the greenhouse, expecting to still have plenty of time for breakfast and et ceteras. No such luck. I see J* and I* getting into their car just as I get down from the field, and run into the house for a semi-clean shirt and the tickets. The drive down to Dillsboro was, needless to say, filled with anticipation. We'd been waiting weeks, weeks, I tell you, for the fun-loving Thomas the Tank Engine caravan to come to our area, and when he finally got here it was almost too much to stand.
We boarded the shuttle to Sodor at an abandoned middle school they had set up as a park'n'ride center, negotiating our way past the minivans and finding an empty space.
Oh but first - yes, yet another reason to love western North Carolina. Like all holidayers we had to make a quick stop for batteries and film, selecting a grocery store called Harvey's in downtown Sylva. The Harvey's hadn't been redecorated in my lifetime. The architecture was from the Johnson administration. So were the hairstyles of the people inside. Yet, there was a bakery shelf with spelt cookies. (Maybe that would be funnier with an exclamation point: spelt cookies!)
Alright, so we board the glorious big yellow school bus, courtesy of the Dept of Correction, and are magically transported to downtown Dillsboro, where Thomas and his friends await.
The organizers of the gala craftily put their main merchandising section astraddle of the entranceway - there was no avoiding it. Period. You want in, you run the gauntlet. An hour and two tantrums later, we get out of the merchandising tent and at last reached our destination: Sodor!
Sodor is like the kiddie play section at McDonald's only with more camcorders. And no air conditioning.
We milled around, getting the lay of the land, talking with charming locals who offered to sell us helium balloons with Thomas' likeness, and sniffing at the bratwurst hotdog concession, apparently considered to be a delicacy on Sodor. Then a strange energy seized everyone, and as the PA system burst into rollicking version of the Thomas theme song, the Big Guy himself appeared, smiling and winking and pulling eight passenger cars! Amid a flurry of flashbulbs we located our coach and got on board, ready for the ride of a lifetime!
(I* was beside himself the whole time, I should say, shifting between uncontrolled giddiness and drop-jawed awe. Oh yeah, that's why we went.)
So Thomas leaves the station, and upon a mystery tour we did indeed embark. For ten minutes the train went backwards, affording a splendid view first of the Dillsboro train repair facility and then of a brushy hillside. Naturalists will be pleased to note the kudzu grows on Sodor just as well as it grows here. The mullein was blossoming, and the pokeweed offered some of the finest specimens this correspondent has yet seen.
The train then stopped, and went forward for ten minutes, recovering the same old ground and coming to a stop once again in downtown Dillsboro, um, Sodor. That's when I* got his Jr. Engineer certificate.
After such excitement, a little whininess was to be expected. J* and I* were both patient with me, though. They told me I wouldn't get any lemonade until after I got into the car and buckled up, and then we made our way home.


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