Category Archives: “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”

Traveling the Rails


My grandkids were ecstatic to have me over last

evening for dinner. Their parents were heading

to parent-teacher conferences. I had some little

‘goody’ packages that had to wait to be opened

until after dinner, of course!

The dinner, I have to brag, was made by my son

and it included hand-dipped chicken breast strips

that were coated in a combination of flour and

crushed French’s onion rings. I had studied this

recipe, part of French’s advertising campaign,

once Thanksgiving is over and all the French

green bean casseroles are off people’s menus,

you may wish to try this one!

We had a lively conversation, talking about

their decorated shoe boxes and how the two

youngest ones, one in a preschool that does

not celebrate any holidays and the other one

too young to head off to preschool, were not

going to get any Valentines’ cards. I smiled

and said not a word.

Psst…shh! I had already packed extra ones

for them, having shared the same thought!

After dinner, since I had worked 9 hours and

was a little tired, I had brought over the

“Cars 2” movie. We watched most of it while

I was there, but left the conclusion for

them to watch after school today. It goes

back to the library in a week.

They opened their cards, while the animated

“commercials” were on, some from me, some

from my family up north, Great Grammie O.

having sent them sweet messages, too.

The movie is set in France, has a spy car

and Italian ‘bully’ race car that is mean

to the main ‘favorite’ one, “Lightning

McQueen” (voiced by Owen Wilson) and his

rusty truck buddy, “Mater” (voiced by Larry

the Cable Guy.) The kids say that the name

“Mater” means how a country person would say

‘tomato.’ I had to ask, since that was a

rather questionable name for a character in

a children’s movie!

If you have not seen the first “Cars” movie,

it is equally delightful and clever. The

World Grand Prix Cup goes to the Italian

car. There are cute jokes, espionage and

the children talked about the country’s

flags, making them interrupt the movie,

we put it on ‘pause,’ to talk about the

Olympics. The Schulz Elementary School,

where Lara and Landen attend, have had a

lot of games in gym class, use of competition

in their spelling bees and also, watched one

Olympic event on television. That was a

skating event for Lara’s class and a skiing

event for Landen’s.

When we had made it to the part about the

Italian car winning, their attention was


We ended up sitting in the kitchen, with

Marley and Kyah (Makyah) sleeping on the

sofa. We talked about songs, sang some of

their favorites. One they had both learned

in school and said, “Nana, you sing this one


It was, “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad!”

Well, I do usually sing the middle part, with

the verses that start with, “Someone’s in the

kitchen with …” and in the car, I replace

the word, “Dinah” with my name, then each of

theirs. We have done this for years, when

Skyler was a baby, my other set of grandkids.

In my classroom, I used to sing this after

the Greeting Song, I learned on Romper Room.

(Yes, this takes me back a lot of years!)

The Greeting Song, goes like this,

“Good morning to you, good morning to you,

We’re all in our places, with bright,

shiny faces.

This is the way, to greet a new day!”

Then, we would launch into the verse

of the Working on the Railroad song

with each of their names… This also

helped them to remember each other’s

names, plus the therapists, especially

the SLP loved this about our classroom.

The theme of railroads is a current one

with children and adults. There are trains

to take across the country, there are

short trains to see Santa Claus, and dinner

trains to go on in nearby Kentucky.

My grandchildren enjoy going to Cleveland

to see the trains in big stores and the

two small ones that go around their Grand

Uncle and Grand Aunt’s Christmas tree.

There is one in Cincinnati, I am sure

in a big collection but cannot remember

which location that my grandsons visited

with my first ex-husband, “Poppy” with

his wife, “Mimi.”

Here are four railroads that have been

given the label of “Most Scenic” and

have both comfort in their transportation

and inside cars, and excellent views of


This was taken from Peter Greenberg, who

is known as The Contrarian Traveler, in

AARP Magazine, (May/June, 2009 issue.):

Travel to the country of Norway to use

the Flam Railway. This descends from Myrdal

to the fjords of Flam! You will see waterfalls

and there are lovely scenes of farming

communities. The farmhouses cling to steep

slopes. The Norwegian State Railway is a

longer trip that takes you through glacier-

filled Hardangervidda National Park.

In Mexico, you can rid a longer trip of 408

miles that takes you through tunnels and

over 37 bridges. You pass over the Copper

Canyon (which is four times larger than

the Grand Canyon! Wow!) To stop in a town,

this guide recommends, Divisadero, which

will allow you to get off and view the

beauty and majesty of Mexico’s Copper


The 2,704 miles of Australian countryside

may be viewed on the Indian Pacific railway.

This is a 3 night journey and covers the

whole continent from Pacific to the Indian


You will pass the Blue Mountains, with its

historic mining towns. Another place, The

Ghan Line features views of the Outback’s

landscapes and numerous cattle ranches.

The fourth suggestion of a train trip is

to get on the California Zephyr. It will

take you over 2,438 miles between Chicago

and Emeryville, California. I have mentioned

this trip a few times, in conversations and

to my children and grandchildren, in that

“If I ever won the lottery or someone made

me rich, I would take all of you on this

marvelous trip across our United States!”

You will view the Rockies, the Sierra Nevada,

Mississippi River and Donner Lake. The spa

town of Glenwood Springs, Colorado was also

recommended to rejuvenate oneself and enjoy

your family together time. This is through


Hope your imagination soared!

When my oldest grandson was only 2, he made

a wish to ride a train like Thomas the Train

engine. It is still a popular dream of mine

and his, to take a wonderful family trip.