(We interrupt our regularly-scheduled blog with our Second Guest Post, penned by my SO, aka "the Missus." I should probably feature her more often - her first post is the 4th Most Popular Post EVER on this blog - Enjoy!)
We were getting ready to leave for work last Tuesday morning when I stepped into the front garden to stake up a branch on my rose bush that had fallen on the grass. As I did so, a neighbor I’ve never met before was taking her morning walk, turned down the driveway, and cautiously approached me.
“Um, do you mind a totally random question?” she asked.
Thinking she was going to ask how I had such fabulous roses growing in late October, I mentally prepared myself to explain about landscape roses, proper pruning, etc.
“What happens here on Thursday nights? All the cars…I mean, is it some kind of multi-level marketing meeting?”
We live in a small seaside town, where, for the most part, neighbors keep to themselves unless there’s a hurricane warning. Everyone is polite, willing to help if needed, and they don’t ask questions. Which is why, over time, they have apparently been eaten alive with curiosity about the Mister’s Thursday night New Haven Railroad photo library meeting (and occasional op sessions).
Our first clue was two Christmases ago, when I decided that we should make more of an effort to know our neighbors. I baked cookies and the Mister and I stopped over to the house next door to deliver them and wish the family a Merry Christmas. The Mister had assisted with generator duty for him and his wife during Hurricane Sandy, but I had never met them.
|"I'll raise you one.... locomotive photo, and take a station..."|
The neighbor was surprised but welcomed us in, and at one point in the conversation, the Mister mentioned something about the Thursday night crew. You could see recognition dawn like the proverbial sun.
“Oh! So that’s what all those cars are there for every week. The neighbors and I had wondered about that!”
The Mister was then equally surprised to discover that our neighbor was the last tower operator for the New Haven RR in town, and was able to borrow his old interlocking diagram to make a copy for his control board. (Apologies in advance to all the wives and SOs whose misters are now going to ask for dozens of cookies to meet all their neighbors).
And the neighbor on the other side, whom we know pretty well, told us that the woman who lives across the street complained to him about the cars parked all over the road. She couldn’t understand what we would possibly be doing to have all that company every week. And whatever it was, could he please tell us to make sure they didn’t park on her side of the street? Maybe she felt left out for not having been included.
But this morning’s encounter was the most interesting yet. Marketing meeting?! I told her it was a historical society thing, since we were in a hurry and it would take too long to explain about the trains and the photographic cataloging. She thanked me and we went our separate ways.
When I got back into the car, and told the Mister what happened, we had a good laugh. And then we speculated what those neighbors who weren’t asking must think actually happens.
1. a basement gambling casino
2. "historical society," cataloging 1940s pinup art
3. a secret cult
And non-railroad people think it’s a dull hobby. Obviously they’ve never been to our house on a Thursday night!