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HooHoo Fraks

Story ID:2321
Written by:Michael Timothy Smith (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Family History
Writers Conference:$500 2007 Family Memories Writing Project
Location:Fort Lee New Jersey USA
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HooHoo Fraks

Hoo Hoo Fraks

My grandson Josh is a train freak. "Thomas The Train" is his
favorite toy. He has several of the other toy engines featured
on the show as well. In the weeks leading up to his fourth birthday,
when I came home from work, he would meet me at the door and say,
"PawPaw Mike? Thomas birthday." He was so excited, his speech impediment
would become worse, and I would have trouble understanding him.

For his birthday, I decided to take him on a train ride. The train
I picked runs from Jersey City to Newark. It takes about forty minutes
to make the trip in one direction. I chose this train, because, for the
first part of the trip, you are underground, then the remainder of the
trip is spent above ground. Even better, you can get in the front car
and look out the window at the tracks, as you roll over them.

Down in the subway, Josh saw the tracks. "'Fraks!', PawPaw Mike!
'Fraks'!" He would only take his eyes off the tracks when a train
passed. We got on the front car of our train and walked to the front
to stare out the window. I explained to the gentleman setting there,
"This was my grandson Josh's birthday. He loves trains, and this ride
is my birthday gift to him."

The gentleman got up and let us have his seat by the front window.
He could tell by the look on Josh's face, that he was excited and
decided to give him the seat as a present.

The train began to roll along. It made several stops underground,
and then the part I was waiting for came. We blasted up out of the
tunnel, and there in front of us were rows and rows of tracks and
even a few trains parked on sidings.

Josh began to screech with delight. "PawPaw Mike! 'Fraks'! Look
at the 'fraks'!! PawPaw! Look at the 'fraks'!" Then he saw the parked
trains, "PawPaw Mike! 'Hoohoo's'! Look! 'Hoohoo's.'" he squealed.

My little grandson stood in that window and would not take his
eyes off all the tracks and trains. It was one those moments when
you cannot stop smiling.

At Newark, we transferred to the returning train. Half way home,
the train had to stop for a few minutes, until a train ahead had
been switched to another rail. As we waited, the conductor of the
train opened his door and saw Josh staring out the window.

"Hey, little man! How are you?" he asked.

I explained it was his birthday, his first time on a train,
and that he was a big fan of trains. "Come here then, Josh! I'll
show you something." He sat Josh in the conductor's seat and let
him blow the horn.

Josh got back in my lap, a grin splitting his face, as the
train continued it's journey. At that moment I looked to the
back of the car and saw a sea of smiling faces. Everyone was
watching Josh and grinning.

Children give such a beautiful gift - innocence. Josh was
yelling and squealing about the "hoohoo's" and "fraks," without
a clue as to how he was affecting the other passengers. It was
impossible not to smile. They all watched this little train
fanatic, enjoying his first ride on a train. His pure innocent
love for this ride was a beautiful thing to witness.

I have ridden that train many times and hardly ever saw
a smiling face. People usually sit quietly, waiting to get to
their destination. They read or stare straight ahead, ignoring
their fellow travelers. Josh's unbridled joy made their trip

Josh was only four, but I doubt he will ever forget his
first train ride with his "PawPaw," and I doubt many of our
companions that day will forget it either. Josh taught
us all a lesson. If we could only see things through the
eyes of a child, see them new and fresh every time, life
would be more interesting. If I ever feel bored over the
things I see everyday, I am going to think of "hoohoo's"
and "fraks," and remember to see it through the eyes of
a child.

Michael T. Smith