I spent the day today roaming Cherokee County with the Jacksonville Leadership Institute, a group that was kind enough to allow my knucklehead to join them for the year as we explore the in's and outs of life in our area. Each time we meet (just once a month), we cover a specific genre or theme of life here. Last month, it was Education. Next month, it's politics in Austin. This month was History and Tourism. We visited the Rusk Heritage Center, the Rusk, Footbridge (547 ft in length!), the Texas State Railroad, the KOA Campground (what a view!), Cherokee Trace Drive-Thru Safari and Love's Lookout.
Without a doubt, the best part was the Texas State Railroad. Although I've never been a huge fan of trains, I, like most, are intrigued by them. Even more so today. We were given the "back-stage" tour of their shop where they work on the trains keeping them operational and rebuilding them back to their vintage glory. Since there's no instruction manual for their work, they make it up as the go along. What that spoke to me was that their work was more art than science. Talk about a giant jigsaw puzzle! I was amazed to see the bazillion parts lying on the racks, on the floor, on the shelves - and to think of these men as the ones who will piece them together to make all the trains run properly is astounding to my small mind. I can't imagine making that work. Hats off to those who run the trains! Visit there and enjoy it as well!