Who are the Bedford Boomers, you may ask? They are a devoted group of model railroad enthusiasts who, along with their spouses and families, make up a unique and special club. This is the organization that the Crankee Yankee (my husband) has belonged to for decades. Together they have traveled by train to many places, have put on many train shows to the delight of thousands of people over the years, and have shared their passion with other model train groups. The Crankee Yankee introduced me to the Bedford Boomers 12 twelve years ago when we got married. Without reservation, they put their collective arms around me and accepted me as one of their own.
Understand, I am not a model train hobbyist, but I love it that my husband is. This is the case with others in the Boomers, and they, like me, support their husbands and the group by doing any number of things; collecting tickets at the door for the shows, sending email schedules out for upcoming events, making sure that we are all aware of any issues with any of the members, and so on. Everyone helps as they can.
The annual picnic usually happens over the Memorial Day weekend, as it did this weekend. Although we have lost members through the years to distance, illness and death, the group still stands as an example of pure joy, acceptance and shared interests. Jokes and pictures are emailed nearly every week, and during the holidays we also get together to share food and laughter, catch up with each other and wish each other well for the coming year.
The Memorial Day picnic is a big event at our house; the Crankee Yankee stuffs our refrigerator with hot dogs, hamburgers, lamb, ribs and so on in preparation for the big day. I usually make a salad or two and cut up a big pan of vegetables to saute on the grill. The Crankee Yankee gets started on location early, and by the time everyone starts showing up, the entire neighborhood smells heavenly. Wonderful dishes appear as people arrive, such as homemade baked beans, macaroni and cheese, fabulous deviled eggs, salads of all kinds, more desserts than you can imagine, as well as mountains of chips and dips, pickles, etc.
Although we all come from different backgrounds, this is a group of people like no other. The unifying interest may be model trains, but we have become an *ohana of sorts. When we lose a member or a relative of a member, we all mourn that loss. When someone in the group has a new baby or grandbaby, it’s cause to celebrate. When someone is sick, we offer what we can do to help, and send on our prayers. As the old saying goes, when sorrow is shared, the pain is cut in half. When joy is shared, that joy is doubled.
These people have become very dear to me, and I am proud beyond measure to be part of the Bedford Boomers family. Although we are different, we have so much in common, and have come to appreciate all our differences and similarities. Really, this is what life lived well looks like–diverse people who share one or two interests and who have become friends along the way. I myself am a very minor contributor, but my life is better for being part of the Boomers!
*Ohana is Hawaiian for any group of people who may not be blood-related, but are a self-chosen family.