model train set on track

A Dozen Brownies

e*Train Issue: Nov 2003   |   Posted in:

By David St. James 89-28821

When someone mentions brownies, I think about those little chocolate goodies. You know, the ones that you buy by the dozen and eat with a big glass of milk. After today, I won’t be able to think about brownies the same way. Last year, my oldest daughter, Savannah, joined the Brownie Girl Scouts. As a first year group, their meetings consisted of exploring the playground for bugs and leaves in the back yard. Well, this year they have advanced to field trips. The troop leader asked if anyone knew of a fun hobby that they could “explore” for a Try-It patch. My seven year-old quickly volunteered my train layout for the first trip.

Now those who have a layout know that it is never finished. Progress on my layout occurs in drips and spurts just before we host a meeting of the TCA’s Central Texas Chapter or a Christmas party. Well, I had less than three weeks to prepare. Most of the accessories had been wired, but they needed to be connected to the SC-2’s so that the kids could use the Cab 1 remote to operate the accessories. I was able to get Acc 1 & Acc 2 working on the SC-2’s but numbers Acc 3 thru Acc 6 would not work (lets not even mention Acc 7 to Acc 18). After a few frantic posts to the TTML, I received the e-mail responses that solved my problem (I had set SW to one instead of zero). Four more hours of connecting and testing and I was ready…or so I thought.

At 3:15 the first of three carloads of Brownie Girl Scouts arrived. Within minutes, they were asking questions about the differences between N, HO, S, 027, 0 and G gauge trains. How did the remote work? Why didn’t the barrel loader (the only accessory not yet wired yet) work? Overall, everyone was happy and excited. Amazingly, with nine trains running and lots of little hands reaching out, the only mishap was when the RailKing Big Boy lost its tether connection. One little girl asked if there was somewhere where her dad could buy a train set. I ended up handing out cards for my favorite local train shop to every child and adult in the room.

We always hear about involving the youth in our hobby. To a large extent, this is geared toward boys. Well today, a dozen Brownies were given a shot of the train bug. It is my hope that the “disease” will spread rapidly to parents and siblings alike. Oh, my favorite question: “How do you get permission from Savannah’s mom to buy all of this? My dad could never get away with this.” The answer – I let my daughters play with the trains whenever they want to. Yes, I will never think of a dozen brownies without remembering a bunch of smiles.