New subway-train.

Hoo Hoo Fraks

My grandson Josh was a train freak. "Thomas The Train" is his favorite toy. He had 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 met me at the door and said, "PawPaw Mike? Thomas birthday." He was so excited, his speech impediment became worse, and I would have trouble understanding him.

For his birthday, I took him on a train ride. The train I picked ran from Jersey City to Newark. It took forty minutes to make the trip in one direction. I chose this train, because, for the first part of the trip, we would be underground, then for the remainder of the trip we sped 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 even 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. It's his birthday. He loves trains, and this ride is my birthday gift to him."

The gentleman saw Josh's excitement and gave us his seat by the front window.

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. In front of us were rows and rows of tracks and even a few trains parked on sidings.

Josh screeched 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 stopped while a train ahead 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's his birthday. This is his first time on a train, and he's a big fan of trains.

"Come here, 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 split his face in half, 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 enjoy his first ride on a train. His pure innocent love for this ride was a beautiful thing to witness.

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

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. When I feel bored over the things I see everyday, I think of "hoohoo's" and "fraks," and remember to see it through the eyes of a child.

I want to see "HooHoo's and Fraks" forever.

~ Michael T. Smith ~

Michael lives in Ohio with his wife Ginny and his stepdaughter's family. You can see a list of Mike's stories here: And you can get his stories emailed to you by signing up here:  Please let Michael know what you think of his story:  Michael T. Smith
[ by: Michael T. Smith Copyright © 2010, ( ) -- {used with permission} ]

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