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Slim & Stumpy at Doc's
Slim & Stumpy Visit the Winged Foot & Western

© George C. Thomas 1998

It happened the other evening, just as it had happened before. When the old gibbous moon was high in the sky and someone in Circleville, Ohio was playing “The City of New Orleans” on the radio, Slim and Stumpy entered the plastic-plasma phase and began to “connect.” This may already seem strange, but there is more. You see, Slim is a 1:20 figure on “Engineer” Jeff Saxton’s Winona & Thorny Mountain RR in St. Louis, Missouri, and Stumpy is a short 1:20 figure on George Thomas’ Lazy Acre Lumber Company RR in Delran, New Jersey. Just why the old gibbous moon and “The City of New Orleans” are important is unclear, but Circleville, Ohio, is about halfway between St. Louis and Delran. Perhaps that is explanation enough.

When Slim and Stumpy “connect” they plan to visit a great model railroad. They had already enjoyed visiting each others railroads, so on this particular evening they wanted to choose another lumber company railroad.

“How about Doc Patti’s Winged Foot & Western RR in Audubon, New Jersey?” suggested Stumpy.

“Great idea. I hear it’s one of the best in the east.”

So Slim and Stumpy met in Audubon. They had little trouble locating Doc Patti’s house, sneaking into his basement, and scaling the wall to get to his layout. They were impressed with the trees they found; very realistic, though a bit smaller than they had anticipated. Slim and Stumpy started walking and soon found the tracks.

“Wow! This really is narrow gauge,” said Slim.

“Sure is,” replied Stumpy. “Looks like about two-foot gauge.”

“But I thought the Winged Foot & Western was three-foot.”

“Well, so did I, but we were obviously wrong.”

“Do you think we’re at the WW&F instead of the WF&W?”

“The WW&F?” asked Stumpy.

“The Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmingon up in Maine.”

“No . . . Maine isn’t even close to New Jersey. We can’t be that far off!”

“Well, then, the Winged Foot & Western must be two-foot, because this certainly isn’t three-foot.”

“Whatever,” said Stumpy, no longer caring if it was two- or three-foot. “Let’s take a look around.”

Slim and Stumpy walked slowly down the track, chuckling to themselves. They were actually looking forward to seeing the two-footers, when something else struck them as being quite odd.

“Do those buildings look small to you?” asked Slim.

“Yeah. Maybe two-foot buildings are supposed to be that way,” answered Stumpy.

Slim was not impressed. “That’s ridiculous!”

They continued walking toward a small (no pun intended) town. When they came to a boxcar sitting on a siding, they immediately knew something was amiss. Even Stumpy could look over it and, as his name implied, he had never been accused of being tall.

“By golly, look how tall I am compared to this boxcar!” exclaimed Stumpy. It was then that they realized their 1:20 bodies were in a 1:48 world. You see, Doc Patti’s Winged Foot & Western is an On3 model railroad.

Since they were giants on this O scale layout, Slim and Stumpy were careful to walk slowly as they approached the town. (It was very big of them to act in such a considerate manner.) Indeed, the local residents were, at first, afraid. But Slim and Stumpy soon eased their fears.

“Greetings,” said Slim, in a most friendly voice.

“Hi there, little people,” added Stumpy.

That’s all it took for the town’s people to realize that Slim and Stumpy were friendly. They crowded around them and bickered about who would have the honor to be their tour guide. The local gardener, a nice young fellow named Mert, won the honor. He started to show them the town, but Slim asked, “Where are your locomotives? We really like locomotives.”

“Geared locomotives,” added Stumpy.

“Whatever floats your boat,” said Mert. They walked through the town and past the lumber camp. The engine facilities weren’t too far beyond the camp. Mert’s eyes twinkled as a Shay caught their eyes.

“Wow, that’s a fine looking Shay,” said Slim.

“And look, they also have a Climax.”

“A Class B Climax at that,” said Mert.

“Wow,” gasped Stumpy. “The Lazy Acre’s Class A is only a 12-tonner.” They had purchased it from the Winona & Thorny Mountain guys a few years back.

They talked locomotives and checked out the steam donkey and turntable. Mert introduced them to a few guys that were busy playing cards, but they didn’t stay long to chat. A serious game was in progress. They then wandered to the far end of the layout to check out the Eagle’s Nest Mine and the sawmill. The log pond looked inviting, but Slim and Stumpy decided not to jump in. They hadn’t brought their bathing suits, and modesty prevented them from skinny dipping.

Their wanderings and explorations continued for several hours, until a sound from outside attracted their attention. A mocking bird. Dawn was approaching.

It was time for the Winged Foot & Western people to return to their places, where Doc Patti would expect to find them when he came down to admire his layout after breakfast. It was also time for Slim and Stumpy to make their exit. Before they departed Mert gave them a bite (it only seemed like a bit to the 1:20 guys) to eat. Slim and Stumpy hated to say good-bye to Mert, but it was time to go. A new friendship had obviously begun; that’s the way it is in this hobby.

Slim and Stumpy found it strange to be outside in the 1:1 world. They had gotten used to being giants on Doc’s 1:48 layout.

“When and where will I see you next?” asked Slim.

“Who knows. It’s up to the moon and a beautiful railroad song. There are plenty of other fine layouts to visit.”

“You got that right, little buddy,” said Slim. “Until next time.”

“Yeah, until next time . . . ” replied Stumpy. They always found it difficult to to go their separate ways, but the rising sun gave them little choice.

And so they both vanished into the early morning air of south Jersey, heading back to St. Louis and nearby Delran. But rest assured, web site readers, Slim and Stumpy will meet again to make another layout visit. Be ready, it could be yours!

Enjoy the next Slim & Stumpy adventure
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