During the month of November, I had a Toy Soldier display set up at the library I work at. It consisted of four smaller scenes, and one large scene. The smaller scenes included the Alamo, Tripoli, Civil War, and Conquistadors. The larger scene was a winter WWII battle.
Of course, it was a hit with the children. It was set up right at the entrance to the Children's department, so everyday, kids would see it, and run straight to it to gawk. It was very rewarding for me to see them so interested in it. But what really interested me were the adults. And from what I saw, the results were about half and half.
One half, let's call them the good half, showed interest in the figures. They asked good questions about them, and they knew that these weren't figures that you could buy in the grocery store toy aisle. They recognized that these were sculptures, collectibles, an item beyond a simple toy categorization. I appreciated that.
The other half, let's call this the bad half, showed no interest whatsoever. They usually ended up pulling their kids away from the display after a few seconds, and said something like "you have some just like them at home". Now, I could be mistaken, but I doubt the kid has any Conte, Butternut & Blue, or TSSD figures at home.
But the difference was more than just being interested or not. The people that stopped to look also had a spark about them... as if all of a sudden, they were transported back to when they were kids, a time when imagination was still permitted and encouraged. Many of them got that goofy smile on their face, just like they probably did on Christmas morning when they were eight years old. The world, so nicely laid out in miniature, just waiting for idle hands to start playing with it.
Needless to say, that spark was not there on the people who didn't appreciate the display. I think that we, the few, who love this hobby, have somehow managed to retain that spark, that excitement that comes along with imagination, where we can transport our mind to a different place and setting at the drop of a hat. And when we see our tiny soldiers lined up, we get that goofy smile, and we are eight again.