Monday, January 24, 2011

Death and the Model Railroader IV: I'll Drink To That

While dismantling part of the CP Rail Manitoba & Minnesota Sub., I had to smile when I thought of Harold Weston.

Harold was a much-appreciated model railroader here in Winnipeg. In the 1970s, he opened a hobby shop in his basement, which later moved to a nearby strip mall; the Golden Spike provided not only excellent service, but also served as a gathering place for model railroaders for many years.

Harold was also an excellent modeller. His O scale Great Weston Railway was a must-see layout, with its bridges, buildings and mountains.

I don't know when Harold started the layout but, when doing the scenery, he planned ahead.

After he died suddenly in 1997, of a heart attack, his widow asked several local model railroad friends over to dismantle the layout. While taking down one particularly large mountain, they were surprised to find a bottle of whiskey (or some other spirit) inside.

With the bottle was a note from Harold; it thanked whoever it might be who had the job of taking down his layout, should death prevent him from doing it himself.

According to one who was there, the friends stopped, opened the bottle, and drank a toast to Harold—who not only left behind a great legacy in the local model railroading world, but also a great story that will, I'm sure, be told for decades to come.

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