My bike commute takes me over this Tacoma train yard twice a day, and each time I think about the model railroad I built when I was a kid. For a period of six or seven years, I spent most of my free time in my parents' basement, creating an empire. Centerville was the name of the town. While other kids were out getting in fights, stealing candy bars, and kissing girls, I was building the Centerville Post Office from plastic, creating trestles from balsa, and raising mountain ranges from plaster. But I never had a train yard like this, and always wanted one.
Lately my youngest daughter has been asking to go to the neighborhood hobby shop. I think she likes to hear about my old railroad, and how you can make a pretty believable tree from a twig and a piece of moss. She wants me to bring my train stuff home from Montana — it's all in boxes now — and start a new empire in our basement. We'll be doing that real soon. And I think Centerville will finally be getting that yard it was missing.