My Family – Train Show in York, PA – Thursday – Part 2

My father loved Lionel trains. Lionel made the best toy trains. Then there was American Flyer. Their trains were okay, but just looked cheaper. Then there was Marx trains and they were even cheaper still. Lionel made the good stuff.

I know this’ll be a spectacular journey.  We arrive in York at the fairgrounds on time. There are some fields around, but we’ll be in one of several very large halls. There’s plenty of security and law enforcement out and about. I feel good about this because we’re hauling thousands of dollars in antiques into this hall and there’ll easily be millions of dollars in antique trains in this one hall alone.

Check it out:

My sister hands me a badge I need to wear to get access to the show. It has her husband’s name on it. It’s paid for so I don’t care, I’m just here to help move these trains.

Janice parks and heads inside to look for the dude that hooked us up with the three tables, and where our tables will be. (Lenny)  I start to unload the containers and place them on the hand truck. I balance a good stack and roll it inside. I stop and say hello to Lenny and his wife and their chatting with my sister. Lenny shows me where our tables are and I dump the boxes on the floor (Not dump…gingerly place) and head back outside with the hand truck to get more. I’m assuming I’m the hired muscle for this trip. I’m kidding… Janice has put this whole operation together and literally has done everything to make this mission happen.

I get everything in and we start to unpack it. We meet the guys in the booth over from us. I suppose we should all be on good terms because we’re going to be spending the next three days as neighbors at this show. Janice introduces me by my real name, and the one dude asks why she calls me that if my badge says “Tim”. She tells him that’s her husband’s legit badge but he couldn’t come because of work, and I jumped in to help at the last-minute in the clutch. (Bold faced lie. We planned this a month ago.) The badge is paid for and I’m her brother. Close enough right?

This fucker waits until we get everything unpacked and set up on our three tables. The tablecloths, the 31 sets of trains set up. Everything in place. It’s a shitload of trains.

That’s when this piece of shit gets up in my face and tells me that if I don’t march right over to the main office immediately and pay for my own badge he’ll report me and we’ll have to pack up all of our shit and get out. And I’m like… what a cunt. But being the civilized man I am, I thanked him for helping out and spelling out the rules to me and to please direct me to where I should go to take care of that right away. What I really wanted to do, was throat punch this fucker and hide his body under our table. But again, we’re here to sell some trains, and I don’t want Janice feeling stressed. I’m a good diplomat and I’ve dealt with the likes of “walking piles of shit” like this before. I want to have a good time while I’m here and I don’t want any problems.

Once I step out of the building and start to walk across the field I can feel that this is going to be a good three days. I’m not even upset about that clown at all. I’m actually feeling kind of hungry, and this is a chance for me to eat.

The place is a sprawling property. There are several halls all with different things going on in them. I ask a couple of people where I go to get a registration badge and they direct me accordingly. Apparently “Sheriff Know It All” was wrong about where to go to get a badge. I am directed by some nice ladies in one of the buildings and I pay and show my ID and they make me a new one with my name on it. This whole process has taken about a half hour. But I got up way early today, and I don’t eat that much when I am traveling, and I’ve been cooped up in a car for the last two hours.

On the way back to our hall I decide to stop at one of the many vendors. I buy a hotdog and soda. It’s a lovely day. I need this fuel to get me through the long day ahead selling trains. I finish eating and light a cig as I walk back across the grass to the hall we’re in.

I wonder where all the black people are? I really haven’t seen any since I got here. I live in Philly and we have plenty but I haven’t seen any here. I wonder about this for a bit not knowing that the answer will reveal itself later today.

I get back to our table and my sister is sitting there and a bunch of old dudes are hanging out looking at our trains. They’re chatting with Janice and I’m hoping we sell some stuff.

Janice is super pissed at the douchebag next door to us. I tell her I’ve encountered worse and to let it go. Just because he’s alone and has a little dick he’ll always act like an asshole who will probably never get laid again if he doesn’t pay for it. We’ll just play nice and move forward.

Having never been to the biggest train show on the east coast, I didn’t know what to expect going into it. There is an enormous following connected to collecting toy trains. But who’s here selling stuff? Anybody that’s around my sister Janice and my age are probably the kids of the guy who collected toy trains and are simply liquidating an estate.

Most of the people here are mostly old men. Old guys collect toy trains from a bygone era. But here’s the thing. The people interested in these collectibles is slowly dying off. Once they’re all dead, this event will shrink to probably just one hall instead of five. I already heard several times that each year the attendance is going down. People are simply dying off and fewer people are collecting toy trains.

My father loved Lionel trains. Lionel made the best toy trains. Then there was American Flyer. Their trains were okay, but just looked cheaper. Then there was Marx trains and they were even cheaper still. Lionel made the good stuff.

It’s like when I was growing up. Mattel made the best toys. Their stuff was just superior to everything else. Hasbro? Kenner? Marx? Mostly crap toys. Lego and Tonka were pretty solid though. Same with the trains back in the day.

Let’s hope we sell some of this stuff today.

Tune in tomorrow for the continued saga.


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