Search for ‘big train’ brings joy to toddler

By Tammy Keith Published November 17, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
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Sometimes money does buy happiness.

OK, before you think I’m just a shallow person, let me explain.

Money can buy things that bring happiness to other people, and that makes us happy.

I went to my parents’ house last weekend, and my brother and I took my nephew with us shopping.

We’d seen a commercial for a toy that he got excited about (my nephew, not my brother), and I said, “Aunt T will buy you that toy.”

(Hey, I’m the aunt, not the momma, and I’m practicing to be a grandmomma someday.)

My brother and I wanted to do a little Christmas shopping anyway, so we loaded up and went to a store.

My nephew, Seb, who will be 3 in January, walked up and down the aisles and didn’t see anything he wanted. I’m amazed at how he knows, even at this age, exactly what he wants. (He gets that from his mother, not his indecisive aunt.) He mentioned “big train” a few times, but he already has the Thomas the Tank Engine set.

My little sweetie pie and I went to another toy store while my brother went to an electronics store. We looked at tractors and trucks, and tractors again, and firetrucks, one of his favorite things on Earth.

Then, he saw it. A “big train.” It was called the Classic Train Set and was packaged in a big box. It had a track, a battery-operated steam engine, coal car, passenger car and more.

It was a lot bigger than he is, but he struggled with it and took it to the counter.

He wanted to carry it to show his daddy, so he dragged the box by the handle behind him down the mall.

When we got home, he and his daddy set it up while I took pictures. The rest of the day, he played with that train. He put the little plastic trees on the track and let the train push them off, he ran around the track and followed it. He lay on the floor an inch from the track, little chin resting on folded arms, and watched it go around, laughing when it came close to his nose. He got excited when it derailed. He took the train off the tracks and ran it on my parents’ wood floors, then put it back on the track.

When we had to go on another errand, my nephew wanted to take four train cars. We said one; he negotiated to two.

He ran the engine the entire time he held it.

As he was being carried into the store, train in hand, he kissed it.

My boys were never that interested in trains, but Seb has trains in his blood.

His Pop, his mommy’s dad, works for Union Pacific and has taken him to see trains all his life. Seb’s got the conductor’s hat and a whistle. (My sister-in-law said her parents already have a special Lionel train put back for him for when he’s older.) My dad (his Paw Paw) told me last weekend that Seb’s great-great-grandfather — his Paw Paw’s grandfather — was a section foreman on a railroad crew.

I took videos of Seb having fun playing with the train, and they make me happy every time I watch them.

It was worth every penny.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or

Niche Publications Senior Writer Tammy Keith can be reached at 501-327-0370 or

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