News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists
SUNDAY, MARCH 13, 2005


About toy trains and namesakes

My namesake, Wright Kirk Deas, is having trouble with names now that he's 3 and old enough to reason beyond potty, bottle and bed.

One problem he has is distinguishing between the spoken "right" and "Wright."

"Right, Wright," brings the response that he's just "Wright." So we backtrack and try to remember to say, "Correct, Wright."

He knows me as Tom Tom and doesn't yet understand that my name is also Wright.

And he wonders that if I am Tom Tom, why would my name be something else, like Thomas?

Thomas the Tank Engine is his favorite toy among a fleet of locomotive engines. It's OK if I take Percy, Gordon or James out for a spin around the wooden track that sits atop his play station, but I must ask permission to play with Thomas.

He's special.

I've come to know about the Island of Sodor, Sir Topham Hatt, Bertie the Bus, Harold the Helicopter and some of the other friends of Sodor.

But Thomas is the favorite, I tell Wright, because that's my name.

He quickly responds that my name is Tom Tom and Thomas is the train.

So we play some more, read a Thomas the Tank Engine book or watch a Thomas CD.

I've learned that Thomas considers himself the big dog in the pack of little engines, that Percy is unbelievably cheerful, that James is grumpy and that Gordon is too full of himself. But there is plenty of learning about life, fair play and teamwork in Thomas the Tank Engine land.

As a child, my favorite book was "The Little Engine that Could," a highly motivating story that teaches children to believe in themselves.

Wright is getting old enough for some "I think I can, I think I can" and some "I thought I could, I thought I could."

In the meanwhile, I'll try to convince him that Thomas the Tank Engine and I share the same first name. Then, one of these days he will understand we share that special bond of our name.

Tom Wright Tom Wright
DAILY Executive Editor

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