The Best Place

Sometimes the mind has the best view.  That became much clearer to me reading a New York Times article this morning on the return of one of “The Lost Boys” to the Sudan after 22 years.  Joseph came home to take part in their election for independence.   The words reeled such a clear and emotional picture of the homecoming that I just felt the tears at the end.  I was curious to see the video that was attached to the story.   How is it that the video  failed to capture the emotion of the story?  Words had worked but pictures did not. Why?

Perhaps it is because words can only succeed within a close and personal  bond with the reader.  Yes, pictures can create an impact impossible to escape as with the young girl on fire from napalm in Vietnam.   But pictures, especially video, involves a gulf that makes the deep mind a passive participant.  Like the wind, pictures can fly by but words must go deeper.  How does that relate to the trolley?

The Hendersonville Tree Lighting was a grand affair as well as downright cold.  We felt like arctic explorers as we festooned the trolley with pretty garland, tinsels and bows.  No matter how you try there are some things you can’t do with gloves.  (Yes, we are wimps in the South.)

Cinderella was the prettiest I had every seen her.  Joshua had shined and cleaned that trolley to a brilliant penny.   John arrived for some last minute repairs.  No way were those fuel filters on his pride and joy going to clog going down that street.

I was unprepared for the reception.  As the barricade was cleared for the mechanical celebrity, crowds of people gathered around. The admiring looks and the children’s eyes were reward enough. These trolley lovers were ready to ride.  The shivering crowd listened to the announcements, speeches, choirs, and more speeches with only one thought,  “Where is the carriage with Santa?.” But one young fella had another thing on his mind–the trolley.

As he and his father came around the front of the trolley, he began his plea for a trolley ride.  The crowd inside the trolley who had fled there to escape the cold made a first ride seem doubtful.

That little guy who must have stood entirely 24 inches high began to wail his demand and jump up and down in a manner that can only be described as resembling a mexican jumping bean.  I knew he had a mother somewhere because he was bundled from head to foot. John, who was standing next to me instantly knew that this was a display that needed to be on our website.   He fumbled quickly for his cell camera as did I.  Too late.  The special moment was over almost as quickly as it had began as his dad pulled him away from the scene.

Perhaps it was for the good.  I can’t imagine that we will ever forget that magic moment.  It seems more special within me than outside of me.  It is stored in both our minds in a way more personal than pictures and  has fewer barriers to replays.  As with words, we are bound to  events we experience within a space that only the end can separate.  I promise, no more philosophy but the Sudan made me think.


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