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Not long ago, parents bought their children

model trains for Christmas. On December

mornings, just after they awoke, giddy 

kids slid down banisters as quickly as 

they tore apart wrapping paper which cloaked 

carrot cardboard boxes holding raven 

steam engines that pulled coal-laden tenders, 

radiant searchlights, crane and boxcars, 

and cardinal cabooses. Dads and moms taught 

girls and boys to fashion straight and curved bits

of train track into voltaic figure eights-

magical infinities powering

locomotives spewing scented trails

of steam from miniature smokestacks

into wee alcoves of childhood fantasies.

Sweeder writes from Ocean City.