Oct 21, 2013

The 2013 CanAm S Scale Social: In the spirit of Arthur

(Workshop member Jim Martin reports on this past weekend's CanAm S Scale Social - an annual get-together that he organizes near his home in Ontario's Niagara Peninsula. Well done, Jim!)

One of my early mentors in S Scale was Arthur Lomax, a unique personality and a fine friend. In addition to being a great model railroading buddy, he and his lovely wife Muriel were the poster parents for growing old gracefully. Living in bucolic surroundings; surrounded by friends, hobbies and interests; and joyful in each other’s company; they became life’s model for my wife Cheryl and me. Both are now gone but we think of them often, and fondly.

Arthur was very active socially in S scale, noted for holding gatherings of western New York and southern Ontario S scalers/gaugers in his home in Flamborough, Ontario. They were fun get togethers, but with Arthur gone they sort of petered out… the Canadians staying on their side of the border and the Americans on theirs. Nothing unpleasant, just life getting in the way during the passage of time.

A few years back, I thought it would be fun to restore the tradition, so I emailed my friend Bud Rindfleisch in Hamburg, New York. He would spread the word for me on his side of the ditch and I’d contact the Canucks. I rented a community hall just down the Lake Erie shoreline in Lowbanks - arranged for a buddy to cater soup and sandwiches - and basically left it up to everyone to show up and make their own fun. Easy formula.

The result was a success from the get go. Two dozen people showed up, old acquaintances were renewed, and the conversation flowed effortlessly. In subsequent years the event has had minor tweaks with sell and swap tables, model displays, S Scale Workshop modules, mini-clinics, and visits to local layouts.

I call it the CanAm S Scale Social.

This year’s event is just over, and from the laughter and fellowship I’d hazard a guess that it was a successful gathering. The photo shows us all tucking into lunch. Layout visits after leaving the hall were to Jim and Barbara Tucker’s amazing HO layout under construction in nearby Winger, and my own home layout here in Wainfleet.

Although Arthur and Muriel are no longer with us, I have remained good friends with their son Phillip. He attended this year’s event with some of his father’s S Scale for sale. Phillip has decided he won’t have time for model railroading because he’s engaged in the herculean task of scanning and cataloging his father’s thousands of railroad negatives, a hobby in itself which is sure to yield many treasures.

It was fun watching Phillip making easy conversation with some of the folks who used to attend his dad’s gatherings. It all felt very circular and warm. Here’s to you, Arthur!

- Jim

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