At the beginning of summer, I promised Elijah and Luca that I would take them on a real, live train trip to their uncle Dave’s place in central Illinois. It was April and I broadly proclaimed the trip would happen before school started or I was the worst dad in the world. A promise is a promise, right?
Wait, when does school start? Damnit!
It was a week late, but I made good on my promise last weekend. The boys and I got up super early and took the metra from Evanston to Union Station in Chicago for a short trip to Bloomington.
As we walked into the massive building carrying our carefully packed luggage crammed with our favorite blankies and stuffed animals, I was positively giddy. Riding the rails. Like hobos of yore. I felt like I was creating one of those quintessential childhood memories that would hopefully beat out some of my less pleasant fatherly mistakes.
And when we crossed the threshold of Union Station, I instantly remembered. Riding the train is awful. Oh, urine smell. Will you ever not be a character in a HamannEggs post?
I latched onto the boys in dual vice grips and dragged them through the sea of people I was convinced all had razor blades in their boots. As a nerd, I wouldn’t even enjoy the fact we were clearly in the middle of the Star Wars Cantina scene.
We eventually made our way to the information desk. I asked about our train’s status.
“Delayed. Indefinitely. Gotta replace the engine.”
I knelt down to boy level. “Guys. The train is really late. I think we should go home and drive to uncle Dave’s.”
“NOOOOOOOOO!” Luca shouted, loud enough to awaken a nearby C.H.U. D. “I want to ride the train!”
“Well, what if we get McDonald’s on the road? And I stop at Target to buy you toys? What if I let you drive?”
No go. They were both determined to take the train. We went into the holding cell, I mean waiting area. We were greeted by a man spanking his son. I whispered, “At least I don’t beat you.”
Mercifully, the delay was only an hour and we entertained ourselves by playing the game “What things not to touch.”
We got on the train and were off. The boys loved it for 7 whole minutes before asking to play on the Kindle.