very kid (and the kids in us) dream of advancing a throttle and running a mile-long train out of a yard, leaning out of that cab window and calling the signals, checking the flimsies and feeling the wind howl around our weather-beaten head.
Nobody dreams of working the hostler job, keeping the boiler pressures up over the long cold night. Or clerking, typing waybills and train orders up. Or walking the track, checking the line. Or walking through the cars punching tickets. There are things that support those god-like engineers that just isn’t fun.
Same goes true for being in a model railroad club.
I was going up to visit my dear mom up in North Carolina a couple of weeks back. We’d just had an ops session, it was fun, but I could use a break. So up I went to the 4600 foot elevation.
And of course, as a secretary for the club, one week can’t go by without a crisis or two.
First off, a member had a disciplinary problem and I had to talk to the president. He proposed a three-month suspension. And that meant I had to write up a letter of suspension to the guy (a friend whose life I actually saved) so it could be reviewed by the board (I had to get a tally of who was in favor of the motion and collect the responses). And then, when the letter went out, the suspended member called me on the phone for some screaming indignation.
Following this, the VP (whose wife is very sick) had to drop out of his position. So I had to get the paperwork started for the board to select an interim veep.
And nobody knew where the spare throttles where. Nobody was there to crush the big spiders or replace the toilet paper. I’m surprised the building didn’t cave in.
Outside of the club, I’ve also had to make a call to NMRA superintendents in our region to shake their membership for articles to the Journal Box, a newsletter I edit. And speaking of them, my NMRA region is having its own poop-swirl,and people are involving me on that.
So that was my week in the mountains, along with power failures, two days of rain, mom’s radio news (sic) station, two plays, several nights at restaurants, bears on the porch and a road-jamming Sheryl Crow concert. I wonder if she had problems singing at this elevation.
All carping aside, the point of all this is that if you are in a club (especially if you are doing everything you can to keep the club together), you’ve got to be ready to keep the boiler pressure up, type up all the waybills, and walk those miles of track. It takes a lot of effort to make a sizable club function, to keep members from fighting like wet ferrets in a bucket, to make sure the building is secured and insured, all those things.
Of course, yes, every month is full of this sort of stuff. But then again, one night out of the month we have ops. And that’s when I leave Martin Yard for Shelfton Industrial, checking my warrant as I exit yard limits, leaning into that wind, highballing.
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