Last week my nephew was in town and we thought there was no better activity to do with a four year old boy that loves trains than to take the Adirondack Scenic Railroad. It was a peaceful journey to Saranac Lake, but once boarded to ride back to Lake Placid, I looked outside and informed my nephew that there were some peculiar looking people at the train station.
The sight of these two strangers dressed in trench coats on a hot summer day frightened him a little. As others boarded the train, we were greeted by a suspicious looking man with a red bandana covering his mouth.
The "bandit" came over to us and handed my nephew a "real three dollar bill" just in case he was accused of being a thief. With all the build up to this "Tri-Lakes Bandit Train Robbery," a certain four year old sitting across from me was getting nervous. We were told by the Adirondack Scenic Railroad's website that "once the bandit boards our train, there is plenty of fun and laughter to go around." My nephew was not laughing. It was right around the time that the train stopped in Ray Brook to pick up the "payroll" that the bandit tried to steal, we had to keep telling my nephew that it was only for fun, like a game, that it was all pretend.
I should mention here that I was probably around the same age when my mother had prepped me on real vs. pretend before seeing the movie Bambi. In the scene when Bambi's mother gets shot, I announced to the crying audience, "IT'S ONLY A MOVIE!"
This kind of steely reaction must run in the family because every time we said robber or bandit, my nephew would say, "They're just people. It's only for pretend. They're just people." As for the "real three dollar bill" he was given, we let him believe it was real, because gullibility also seems to run in the family.