The Lionel in Winter, 1953

By Stuart M. Terman, M.D.



up early,

my fifth birthday,

looking outside and a world of white:

snow, snow and more snow,

filling our driveway,

the sidewalk, the sky, and our porch.


Some noise downstairs

in our small Ohio home

sounded like a small train

chugging along steel rails.

How could this be?


Out of bed,

walked down the stairs

and looked out the front window

seeing even more snow.

Father on the floor of the living room,

a Lionel train set put together;

the strong black engine leading the way,

followed by the coal car,

then two passenger cars

and the dark red caboose.


The steel rails in a large oval shape

filling the small living room,

with wires from the transformer 

that guided the electricity

from the outlet to the rails,

all working perfectly,

assembled with care by the gruff,

often short-tempered ex-GI/used car dealer

who had adopted me several years earlier.


He seemed now happy to have put this together

before I got up,

and I was happy to get this unexpected gift.


I’ve liked winter ever since, and occasionally

when the yard is full of snow in January

I think of trains,

and the rough six feet four-inch step-father,


for just a brief time

was also my friend,

as we sat together on the living room floor,

smiling as the Lionel train rolled by.


Stuart M. Terman, M.D. is a physician who attended Case Western Reserve University and has been published in a number of medical, ocular and surgical publications, including EyeNet.



Author: authorbios

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