It's hard to say what my favorite part of the Roots of Motive Power Holiday Express event is. Hearing the steam engine's deep whistle early in the morning is the first sign of the day. The uncertainty of the weather is a customary concern - will it be too cold, will it or won't it rain? Anyone who was deterred by the weather reports yesterday missed a beautiful rainbow that arched over the train as it went around the tracks. The sight of all the orange shirts of the Roots volunteers is warming, and there's usually at least one snappy dresser in a conductor's uniform. Also in uniform are Mr. and Mrs. Claus, who are clearly long-time railroad aficionados, and all-round good sports. The Museum joins in the festivities with free admission all day to explore the exhibits, old and new. There is lively participation by First 5 Mendocino and AmeriCorps volunteers leading games to keep kids engaged and warm. The Willits Children's Librarian and volunteers read stories and Willits Kids' Club staff demonstrate making collages. A lot of people share their time so that children and their families can have fun together at the beginning of the holiday season. Actually, I do know what my favorite part is - it's seeing the curiosity and the joy in kids' faces as they climb up onto the caboose and then gaze out the windows at the passing scenery, as they walk up to Santa, and as they jump rope to holiday music, look for more cotton balls for their collages, or help read a story book. I suspect that's the favorite part of the day for their parents as well. Thank you to all who create this wonderful event.
Notes about Motes
Mote is not misspelled (nor is misspelled, for that matter - I checked). Motes are small specks of dust that become visible silhouetted in beams of light. Although museums may be called dusty closets of history by some, in our use, motes refer to small bits of information about our museum that can be seen when light is shone on them.