Who said you can’t live forever

Nobody gets resurrected except in scripture. An iron law states we and all we create won’t last. In Wiscasset, Maine they appear to be violating that law.

What the heck’s a “Foamer”?

We met some of the violators of this law who are called “Foamers”. It’s not a real word, but it’s used by the travel industry to label the railroad enthusiasts. They 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. They 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 gauge rail track in Alna, Maine. Other men, their age may not even make it out of bed in the morning. Few do much leaping. To all the world and many tourists, it appeared these Wiscasset seniors were born again little boys playing with toys.

Just how do you live forever?

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. They went picking through abandoned rail yards, scrap heaps and dumps looking for parts. They finally located enough of the original boilers, wheels and running gear to assemble two authentic WWF RR 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 to see if it worked. Then they rebuild all the bridges and- Look what they got! An operating gem of Maine’s railroad history.

 This will not be confused with a miracle of biblical proportions, but they’ve resurrected a phoenix from the long-forgotten, rusty dead. This long expired enterprise once again brings a smile to children’s faces. For the older visitors you can occasionally see a tear to the eye and a bit of foam on the mouth.

There’s more. As a senior myself, I believed a second iron law stipulates a natural progression. It says 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.

On the right track baby!

They will not go on forever but damned if these guys aren’t on the right track.

Categories: Humor

3 replies

  1. Well, I’ll be blamed. This is exactly the kind of medicine we all can use: Something useful, fun, and collaborative.

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