one of the things i looked most forward to when visiting my grandparent's house as a child, aside from being over-fed candy, was getting to play in grandpa's "train room"... it would be an understatement to say my grandfather is a model train enthusiast. for as long as i can remember he has spent his free-time tinkering in the basement, creating a miniature world of the old-west's yesteryear in doing so. to my young eyes - it was pure magic.
while making my way across the country i stopped into denver for a visit. years later i am still in awe of his ever evolving masterpiece: a miniature train running along the walls of his basement room with equally miniature scenery surrounding. the thing that impresses me now is the fact that he has built this little world entirely by hand - the houses, the painted landscape backdrop, even the trees and shrubbery. he decals on the signs and advertisements, wires the buildings and mini-street lamps for lighting. there is even some interior still life's at work: in the barber shop a man is having a shave, the baker sells a loaf of bread to a polka-dotted dressed women, and men are whetting their whistles at a number of pubs and salons. my favorite little moment occurs in a forested region occupying a corner of the room. there a hunter is taking a moment to relieve himself while leaning on a fallen log - unknown to him a grizzly bear is stalking him inches away. as a kid i got a kick out of the bathhouse, where you could lift the roof off on a hinge and witness 6-8 nude adults of varying sexes bathing. my grandpa's humor really comes through in these instances.
every time i see the train room i am instantly brought back to my childhood. but as a "grown up" i have a new appreciation for the level of detailed work pops has put into his hobby. plus its especially enduring when he plays a soundtrack of real trains from a little boom-box in the room.