January, 20, 2024 – Oh no, not another train story?

I’m the little guy in the front.

My brother seen here behind me here, raised me for the most part for several years.

He’s the one that set up the Halloween prank that my video storytelling event from The Long Beach Searches for the Greatest Storyteller event talks about on my Instagram. Don’t miss that, it’s lots of fun.

Anyway, my parents were far too busy to be bothered with taking a close look at what my brother, myself and my little sister were up to for the most part. So we had some great adventures.

One Christmas we searched the house and found a large box under our parents bed. It was already wrapped so we had no idea what it was.

My parents bought me a chemistry set once. What were they thinking. Little bottles of chemicals and no supervision? What a blast that was.

Anyway, my brother and I opened the present very carefully with my brothers switchblade knife. Yes. Did I not mention that we went to Mexico often for entertainment groups for our large restaurant, bar and dancehall and brought back important educational items like knives, cattle whips and firecrackers? Sorry about that.

Anyway, we opened the large, flat box and set up the train every afternoon for about two or three weeks before Christmas and had a grand time. It was a simple affair with just four cars, a locomotive and a small oval track. But that was a different world for us.

We could lay on the floor close to the tracks and pretend that we were off some where else. That was my wish, at least. Home was less than ideal.

We were easily entertained since we had little in the way of creature comforts like toys. These were lean times for our family.

Everyday we retapped the box closed and put the package back under the bed after playing with it for hours.

When Christmas morning arrived, we tried to look excited as we pulled that big box from under the Christmas tree. Santa had arrived and left us a few gifts.

We set up the train in a flash. My mother said, “Wow boys, it looks like you have done that a few times already. You are so fast at setting it up.” We answered back, “We’re boys mom, this is what we do. Putting things together is one of our best traits.”

She was probably thinking in her mind that we were better at breaking things, I’m sure. She didn’t tell us if she suspected us of foul play with the train, but she was far smarter than anyone else in the house, there was no doubt about that.

My brother and I got into many interesting situations and then involved my sister in them when she was old enough to appreciate the good times that could be had when the parents were away.

My brother and I often mention that we should be in prison or dead, but we beat the odds somehow.

Our wive’s are always awe struck by our stories of what we were up to most days after school when our parents were at work. Some of our stories are very hard to believe.

I’m just finishing up reading a book called “Mark Twain, The Bachelor Years,” by Margaret Sanborn. It is a great book and I see my self in Sam Clemons living down on the river and getting into trouble more often than not.

I lived by the beach for several years as a child and later as an adult and had that great place to wander off to after school to fish, skim board, body surf and boogie board in or just to watch the waves roll in.

I was very lucky in many ways and now appreciate those times as a free range child.

My new podcast interview at Connected Conversations is now on my Facebook page at R.C. Hand.

This is not a wanted poster, it just looks like one.