So, TINS, TIWFDASL…..OK, well, not so much. Long after I had left EMS in Da City, and was off FDASL in other climes, Da Darling Wife (before she had transformed herself into The Plaintiff) decided that family would take a trip, to Sault Sainte Marie, Ontario. In March.
For those who are unaware, Sault (pronounce it “Sue”) Sainte (abbreviated “Ste.”) Marie is just about as far north as you can go in the US, if you never visit Alaska. Winters are…remarkable. Typically, there are feet and feet of accumulated snowfall, and it gets mighty freaking cold, particularly if you are from, say Tennessee or that latitude, and your idea of “Oh! My! Ghawd! Cold! is, like, 35 degrees Fahrenheit (2 Celsius, for our European friends.) Yeah. In “The Soo”, as Michiganders call it, 35 degrees, in March, is nearly tee-shirt-and-shorts weather.
Our Canadian Friends and Neighbors have a railroad service, north (imagine that!) from Soo, Ontario, and it is called, surprisingly enough, “The Snow Train”. The Algoma Canyon Railway runs excursion trains during the winter, and travelers can admire winter beauty, clean running rivers and streams, and do so from the comfort of heated railway coaches.
At each end of every railway car, where it opens to a platform admitting one to the next car, is a sign, warning passengers that they are not to stand upon the platforms when the train is in motion. This seems particularly important at the last car, where the platform looks out on nothing but Nature. We were, all six of us, in the car that initially was right behind the locomotive.
The excursion arrives in Agawa Canyon, over a hundred miles north of Soo, Ontario, after something like 4 hours of travel. There, the locomotive switches ends, and, after a layover, begins the return trip. And, while the locomotive switches about, there is time to wander about the station and frolic in the snow.
So, there is a bar car, on this train. And, there were high spirited post adolescents aboard. Who had found the bar car.
Once the locomotive switch had happened, and the wandering-around-the-platform time had ended, everybody was summoned back to the train. We resumed our old seats, now at the rear of the train. Our kids admired the view from the platform, and returned. The post-adolescents likewise admired the view, and were still doing so when the train crew walked thorough, admonished the spectators to return to the carriage, and not return to the platform, and moved on.
Once the crew had departed, the youths returned to the platform. I gathered the children together, and motioned their mother closer. “Now, look through that door, at those geniuses, standing on the open platform of a soon to be moving train. What do you suppose is likely to happen when the train jerks into motion?”
13 year old Number One Son identified the problem promptly. “One or more of them are gonna topple over that low railing, into the snow or onto the track. That’ll leave them behind, and it’s kinda cold for walking back to The Soo, right?”
Their mother responded: “That, and/or somebody will smack their head, hard, onto the steel rails. Now, once the young geniuses are making snow angels, remember: I’m a waitress, and your dad is an electrician. Got it?”
The younger kids had not “got it”. One protested, “But, Mom, you’re a nurse, and Dad is a medic, right?”
“Not today, we aren’t. Remember, I’m a waitress, and Dad’s an electrician!”
The oldest boy, bless him, was quick on the uptake today. “Yeah, do you think mom and Dad want to mess around in the snow, treating people too stupid to follow directions, and who break their heads because of it? And, like, hundreds of miles from the nearest hospital? If Mom and Dad are busy doing that, who’s gonna watch us kids?”