About two weeks ago I was very excited to visit, once again, the 'Pink Palace' museum here in Memphis, Tennessee.
The day before I had attended an I-Max movie at the 'Pink Palace' and had noticed a large banner advertising 'Model Trains'. There is just something extremely exciting about anything in miniature - especially if they move. The 'Pink Palace' already has a lovely miniature circus caravan on display behind glass. However this was miniature trains. The little kid in my soul squealed with delight.
The miniature train exhibit was up the stairs ... or escalator I should say; behind the gift shop. A short ride up in slow motion allowing me to admire the museum's resident T-Rex. Who doesn't like a grinning T-Rex?
As I neared the top of the landing there was a soft unfamiliar hum on the air. Once I breached the top and precariously exited the escalator (those things slightly scare me), I realized the hum was coming from the 'Miniature Train' exhibit room.
The huge exhibit room practically vibrated with excitement. I immediately noticed there where three men behind a elevated 'miniature' train track that covered about a third of the room. They sat and stood like giants looking after the moving and motionless models. I observed a slightly attractive middle aged man in striped over-alls and facial hair lean over with giants hands and gently nudge a tiny tiny person on a small wooden train platform. On the right was a heft man in jeans sitting on a stool, his ebony skin glowed with his smile as he watched the tiny trains pass, switch tracks, and caused lights to go off and crossing bars to fall. He seemed as if, as a Giant, he was pleased with the tiny kingdom he ruled.
There where actually three trains on the massive track surrounded by varied landscapes and towns all in scaled miniature. The Freight train speed by at amazing speed and I crouched down to see if anyone perhaps lurked in the open empty boxcars.
The oldest of the three men soon noticed me and all three where soon demonstrating the awesomeness that was their trains and tracks. As I walked around the huge track I passed a shorter cropped blond haired lady in conversation with one of the Museum's employees (museum patch on the pollo - the give away). She was talking about the oldest of the three miniature train conductors and said, 'You would think it was a child. These men treat those trains like us women treat a baby.'
I moved on to an even smaller scaled miniature train. The track did not seem as large but once i observed the tiny train, of which cars I could fit four or five in my hand, I realized it had to be exceptionally small to carry such miniscule trains. The Man behind this track immediately lit up as I came close to his area. He instantly started making things happen - moving the trains backwards and forwards, sending them new routs, making crossing bars to fall and crossing lights to flicker. From his vantage place, perched on a wooden stool, he called out for things for me to look at. 'See the clothes on the clothes line' he called out gesturing with his hand I should look to my left. I did. Sure enough there was a barely visible tiny blue skirted woman at a only slightly more visible clothes line, hanging out clothes to dry. This when on for several minutes him calling out things to look for, finding them, and my squeak of delight each time. There was an Elephant, and Drunkard, a Dog peeing on a hydrant, a Giraffe in the woods next to a deer, etc. etc. and so on.
I excused myself from all of the grinning and waving train men; exited the Exhibit room. I realized that my foot steps seemed a little lighter as I made my way to the downward escalator. I was grinning. I reached up to touch the right side of my face. I was grinning like a five year old ... a five year old who had just seen a miniature train set. I guess we all have one of those lurking in us somewhere.
And that five year old in me is why I love the Pink Palace so much.