Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Rain, Trains, & Automobiles

Last week we wandered our way over to west of Argyle to the Toy Train Barn.
Train engineer Buck Guthrie and his wife Jan are some of the friendliest, most creative people you'll ever meet. Eight years ago they turned their working dairy barn into a museum for Buck's ever-growing model train collection. But this is not your average model train collection. Buck has added PERSONALITY to it...PIZAZZ! I don't know how else to describe it. You just have to go see it for yourselves!
Jan greeted us at the barn door with a smile and an "I Spy" game for the kids. Could they find Santa Claus (climbing up the spray foam insulation Mount Rushmore)? Can you see the working fire truck, complete with running water to put out the burning building?

How about the guy waxing his car, or the couple fooling around at the drive-in movie? (Nope, that part wasn't on the I Spy game ;)

Since Mark and I both grew up milking cows, it was especially fascinating for us to see how a retired farmer transformed his barn into this wonderland of joy for all ages.

Trust me, I get bored watching trains go round and round...but this was not boring at all. The kids loved pushing the buttons to see what would light up or move, and Jan's clay people were fabulous. Fishing, working, going to the zoo, riding the subway, whatever -- the scenes weren't to "perfect scale", as she noted, but what fun and imagination they inspired in us!

The rain kept us from riding the 12" railroad that meanders a mile over their farm (and is still, like the barn, a work-in-progress), but we still enjoyed feeding the rabbits and checking out their souped-up 1954 Ford.
Buck and Jan travel to classic car shows, model railroad shows, and even set up one of their huge displays for nursing homes and schools. I was so impressed with their enthusiasm (they went out of their way to talk with every separate tour group who was visiting at the time) and resourcefulness (Buck uses old computer printer cartridges, plastic containers, working car defrosters, microwave parts, and vacuum cleaner motors in his displays). Like a little kid, his eyes light up as he tells of his next projects. The joy truly is in the process, not in the final product.
I think you can tell - we had a great time at the Toy Train Barn!

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. --Philippians 1:6


Blogger Astrid said...


What a neat place!!!!

And to think I've never heard about this place until just now. Do you need an appointment to see it or do you just show up?

July 28, 2009 at 10:57 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

You just show up - they are there almost all of the time! It cost $3.00 per child and $5.00 per adult (not including the train ride) but you can see why they need the $ to keep up the electric and all - my brother visited it last year.

July 28, 2009 at 3:42 PM  

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