Train hobby helps couple enjoy their golden years
Hobbies are a dime a dozen.
But for Don Harris, his hobby is a labor of love shared by him and his wife, Pat.
Harris, 88, is described by his daughter as “the sweetest man, pa, dad, grandpa, papa, friend, mentor, etc. you will ever meet.”
Kathy Veros lives just two blocks away from her parents in the Westbury South addition in Yukon. She is one of five kids in the family, which she says is a mix of two sons from her father and three daughters from her mother. They married in 1974.
A few years ago, Harris had an idea to start a small train set for Christmas with a Christmas Village including Santa and his sleigh.
Veros said what started out small has become an “enjoyable hobby” for her father. “It has taken over an upstairs bedroom in their house,” she said.
Today, “Don’s City” as he refers to it as, is 10 feet wide and 10 feet deep, and Veros said, “It keeps growing and growing.”
Veros said the city has two full trains, hay, wheat and corn fields, longhorn cattle, barns, a lake, golf course. “You name it… he probably has it.”
Harris and his wife often work together on the train. Pat suffered a stroke several years ago and now has dementia, Veros said. The train has become the couple’s special project, although Veros’ mother doesn’t talk much these days.
“It’s really been helpful to her,” Veros said.
Because of her condition, Veros said verbal communication has become very limited between her parents. Pat comes up with new ideas and how to improve the train and her husband gets all of the supplies together to make it happen.
“Don’s City” has become more than a hobby for the Harris family and one that Veros said they are all proud of.
“Us kids would love more than anything for him to be able to show off his passion for this train. He does not know that I am sending you this information so it would be the best surprise in the world for him to share his story to everyone,” Veros wrote in an email about her father. “This may not sound big and the photos do not do it justice, but to see it in person is amazing!”
Harris grew up in Medford, Oklahoma and retired from Kerr McGee in Oklahoma City as the chief oil and gas draftsman. He has lived in the Yukon/Mustang area since 1979.