Santa Train In The Appalachians

This time of  year in the Appalachian Mountains something quite special happens.  Something that has been occurring for 72 years.  From Kentucky, through Virginia into Tennessee (a 110 mile route)  rolls a train carrying a man called Santa Clause.  Sound familiar?
When the Santa Train comes through the Appalachian Mountains ,  you know it is officially the holiday season.  I have watched clips on our local news and other programs since I was a little girl.  I never got to see this special phenomenon until  this past Saturday , November 19, 2016.  I grabbed my camera bag and drove about thirty miles to the place where Santa would be arriving on a train instead of a sleigh.  I arrived to a waiting crowd of several hundred people. 2016-11-23_0112 The looks on the small children’s faces were ones that I will never forget.  They just knew something wonderful was about to happen.  Something more than wonderful happened and I was blessed to be part of it.
I stood with hundreds of mountain folk and all at once we heard a whistle and looked and saw the train coming. 2016-11-23_0108 Cheers went up and you could hear the children yells above everyone.  Parents started pressing forward into the crowd with their children to get close to the front to see Santa.  Some Dad’s had their little ones perched on their shoulders.
Santa arrived and was waving and shouting to everyone “Merry Christmas!”  Santa’s helpers, or Elves, started jumping off the train with bags full of treats, trinkets, and toys and started handing them out among the crowd.  Santa was on the train tossing toys far out into the crowd so that those little ones in the back would not be left out.  2016-11-23_0110My eyes filled with tears as I snapped photos and tried to watch all this spirit of generosity  going on all around me.  I kept hearing children calling out, “Me Santa!  “Me”.  I saw Santa point to a child in the crowd and his Dad brought him up on his shoulders and I raised my camera and captured a moment I will forever remember.  I saw a man, who to this child was Santa Clause, look into this child’s eyes and say “I came all this way to give this to you”.   I saw anticipation in this child’s eyes and thankfulness in his Dad’s eyes.  santa_train_nov_21_2016
Not only did children receive gifts but Santa was tossing out gifts to adults as well.  Just as I put my camera down for a minute, I looked up and saw Santa pointing to me and motioning me to come forward.  I shyly stepped forward and heard him say just as he was tossing me a package, “You need this young lady”.  I wanted to say, “Oh,  go on Santa”.   I mean , who knew Santa was such a flatterer.  I’m fifty years old!  I opened my package and there was a lovely scarf!  I felt very special to be singled out by Santa!
This was such a special day, Santa and his elves made sure that not one child or adult left without smiling and joy in their hearts.  I know I wrapped my scarf around my neck  and waved back at Santa as he left the depot and knew I would never forget the spirit of giving and holiday magic that moved in the mountains this past Saturday on a train that was called the Santa Train.santa_train_november_21_2016

3 thoughts on “Santa Train In The Appalachians

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