Branson has a Scenic Railway Train that takes tourists on a tour of the Ozark countryside. During the Christmas season for the past several years, they've dressed up the train appropriately and offered rides on the "Polar Express."

One year, during our annual holiday trip to that area, my wife and I decided to take the Polar Express train ride. They would invite youngsters to come in their pajamas, which several did, along with some of the adults (No, I wasn't one of them). Of course, there was hot chocolate and cookies, although the servers didn't dance around like in the movie.

During the course of the ride, we were told that we were about to arrive at the "North Pole." And, sure enough, there were Santa and Mrs. Claus, along with a number of elves, jumping around on trampolines and such.

The conductor made it a particular point to direct our attention to the side of the train where the North Pole was. So, of course, that made me curious about what was on the other side of the train. What I saw resulted in a moment of realization.

In looking out the other side of the train, I saw - a Casey's and a liquor store. After thinking about it for a couple of seconds, I thought, "You know what, why not? The elves can't be expected to work in the toy factory all the time. They deserve some time off just like the rest of us."

Like I said, a Christmas realization.

Hemera