Cyril was a ‘decent wee man’, he was the sort of man who gave you confidence that there might be a future for humanity.
He was a teacher of some sort in his day job, in his spare time he was a steam train enthusiast, spending hours and hours working on the local steam railway, doing everything from helping build the line to working as a guard when the trains ran.
Cyril’s steam railway was an excellent place to be. He and the members of the society to which he belonged had recreated a special part of the past. The stone buildings were restored to perfection, the rolling stock shone, every detail received the minutest attention. It was good to be there.
Cyril smiled at our kids. He laughed as he blew his whistle and waved the green flag. Cyril was in his element in being part of something that treasured beauty and workmanship.
It is twelve years since we were on Cyril’s railway, it is five years since we were on any steam railway. We stopped going because I assumed our kids had grown too old and suave and sophisticated for such activities.
Yesterday I was asked by one of them why it was so long since we had been on a steam railway. Cyril would have been pleased at the question. Maybe it was a good question to be asked, maybe a love of history and beauty and craftsmanship is one of the best lessons we can teach.
I think Jesus would have liked steam railways.