Sunday, August 28, 2011

Pops and his Model Trains

My Grandfather did a lot of things with me when I was a kid and I have so many memories of him.  One thing that I took an interest in because of him was model railroading.  When I was a kid he was always working on a model railroad layout.  I can remember sitting and watching he work and I was so amazed at the layouts he would create and the models he would build.  I knew that it was something that I wanted to do as a hobby.
He built a lot of his own stuff and was always looking for new things to model or build.  I remember  that everywhere we went he would look at stuff that normal people wouldn’t pay attention too and think about how he could use it on his layout .  One day we were at Walmart.  My Grandma was buying so stuff and my brother and I were standing with my Grandpa eating pretzels.  I wanted something out of one of those gum ball type machines but it was a prize in a little bubble like plastic container. 
Grandpa gave me the quarter I needed and I turned the crank and out popped the plastic bubble with my little prize in it.  I quickly opened the bubble and took out my little prize and without hesitation threw the bubble into a nearby garbage can.  Before I knew it, my Grandpa was hovering over the trash can and looking in for what I had just thrown away.  Reaching in the garbage can he pulled out both pieces of the plastic bubble.  He turned to me and said, “You don’t see the potential in this?”  Looking at him with the glassy eyes of an eight year old who had no clue what he was talking about, I said “um…no.” 
He smiled at me and said, “Well Eric, this plastic bubble can be used on my model train layout.  With a little paint, a couple of toothpicks, and a piece of fishing wire I can make a satellite and hang it above the layout.”  I smiled back at him.  “I never would of thought of that,” I said.  He just smiled and placed the plastic bubble in his pocket.  As we stood there, I looked around the bubble gum type machine and found two more plastic bubbles which I gave my Grandpa. “We can work on these when we get home,” he said.
Another time, we were at a Lowe’s hardware and Grandpa was looking for something to fix a door knob.  After we looked in that section and he found what he needed, we walked into the paint section.  There was a cart at the front of the section with a lot of random paint colors.  They looked like they were rejects or leftovers.  Grandpa was feverish going through them until he found a couple he wanted.  He picked them up and off we went to the register.  I asked him what the paint was for and he told me that whenever he came into Lowes he looked on that cart.  There were a lot of discarded, rejected paints that were heavily discounted on the cart.  He would buy them because he never knew when he could use them on his layout. 
My Grandpa was a resourceful man.  He looked for every opportunity to use something for his layout.  He was also a very Godly man and often taught the lesson in his Sunday school class.  He taught me that sometimes we tend to discard things without truly looking at them.  We run through life so fast that we don’t realize the uses of something that is available to us.  Maybe it’s a plastic bubble or rejected paint, or it could be an old cd or broken game we have.  We just discard them and don’t look at their potential.
I think that people should pay closer attention to the small things, because you would be surprise what you will find and what you can use them for.  The next time you buy something and our about to discard the box or wrapping material, take a look at it and see if you have a hidden treasure.  Who knows maybe you have your very own satellite and you just didn’t know it.  

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