Resurrection is very rare these days outside of scripture. An iron law regarding permanence states that we, and all we create will not last. However a violation that law seems to be occurring in Wiscasset, Maine.
We met some of the violators of this law. They are called “Foamers”. It’s not a real word, but it’s used by the travel industry to label the railroad enthusiasts who foam at the mouth whenever they see steam trains. You may already know some of them.
The Foamers we met were a group of three dozen, mostly men. They were even older than I am, and work as volunteers on the Wiscasset Waterville and Farmington Railroad. These Foamers, who were long past retirement, probably leap out of bed each morning to dress up in their porter’s costumes, engineers cap and neck bandanas or machine shop bib overalls. They spend their days restoring, maintaining and operating a three mile stretch of narrow gage rail track in Alna, Maine. Other men their age may not even make it out of bed in the morning and certainly don’t do much leaping. Meanwhile, it appeared these Wiscasset seniors were born again little boys playing with their toy.
The project began small as a museum 25 years ago. At first they simply collected artifacts and researched what could be learned of the WWF Railroad Company’s assets. By picking through abandoned rail yards, scrap heaps and dumps, they located enough of the original boilers, wheels and running gear to assemble two authentic steam locomotives. Then, miraculously these old guys were able to bring two of the locomotives back to operational life. They hoisted the century old engines onto the tracks, rebuild the bridges and- Look what they got! An operating gem of Maine’s railroad history. This may not rank as a miracle of biblical proportions, but they’ve resurrected a phoenix from the dead. The long expired enterprise now brings a smile to children’s faces as well as a tear to the eye and a bit of foam to the mouths of older visitors.
But there’s more. As a senior myself, I believed the iron law stipulated a natural progression – that we all finish our careers, retire, pass on and go to heaven. These railroad guys seemed to have skipped the “passing on” part. They have gone directly from retirement to little boy Choo Choo Train heaven.
Even if they don’t go on forever, they’re on the right track.