Thomas the Tank Engine Meets the NFL

Confirmation Day 2022

Ah, yes, Cosette. If you’ve met her, you are probably already shaking your head knowingly. She is my fourth grandchild and you might say she defies description, although I can give you an early example. On the night her brother Lee was born, I was driving to the hospital with her in tow. It was 10 o’clock at night; I was tired and anxious, driving in an unfamiliar area, and I had a 4-year-old child giving me directions from the back seat: “That’s 36, Grandma, you go that way. That’s 3-5-W, take that.” For the love of God, I thought, give me a break, Cosette!

She is turning 15 this month, hard as that is for me to accept, and as usual her birthday list is laser-focused on her current obsession – in this case, the National Football League. I don’t know exactly when this infatuation began, three or four years ago I’d guess, but at this point she is literally a compendium of teams, players, coaches and statistics. Ask her anything. She scours the sports news daily.

Of the 19 items on Cosette’s list this year, 13 are related to professional football: individual player cards, blaster boxes of collector cards, posters, bed linens, and a Minnesota Vikings “NFL Flash Alternative Collectible Football Helmet” that I refuse to peddle out $34.95 for.

Highly desirable collectible helmet that Cosette will treasure forever if you will just shell out $34.95..

This is not new or unusual behavior, of course, because Cosette approaches every undertaking as if it were the Last Crusade and she was Indiana Jones. This latest birthday list-making is in fact much like her fixation with all things Thomas the Tank Engine that preceded her fifth birthday.

He has many, many friends.

From June to September 2012 I got phone calls from Cosette at work almost daily reminding me of her pressing need for more Thomas & Friends engines, available in Aisle 2 at Target and if I wanted she would give me directions to the store. The list was endless: Gordon, Henry, Rocky, James, Emily, Toby, Percy, Annie and Clarabel, Cranky the Crane, Donald and Douglas… “Have you got your pen, Grandma? I’ll wait.” Eventually, of course, I found myself in Aisle 2, tossing tiny locomotives into a cart with abandon.

In her jaunty engineer’s cap and red bandana, Cosette mentally tallies the latest additions to
her Thomas & Friends collection.

Well, I figured that would hold her for a while, right? She phoned me at work on Monday. Toddler Bret hadn’t given her a present yet, she said, so maybe I should take him to Target, as she was missing Cranky the Crane. I told her I’d think about it. She called me on Tuesday. Christmas was coming and she wanted to let me know she didn’t have Cranky, Spencer, Elizabeth, the Troublesome Trucks, Bertie the Bus, Bash and Dash, Harold and… “Are you writing this down, Grandma?”
For the love of God, I thought, give me a break, Cosette!

Simply wonderful

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