In addition to career-oriented scenes on my layout, I have a lot of family references. In this scene, you see the Smith Ford Dealer (after my Dad and brothers' Dick Smith Ford in Raytown, MO), the Palace Theatre with two of my favorite movies (The Right Stuff and Blazing Saddles) on the marquis.
In this scene, a Southern Pacific switch locomotive moves cars that will make up The Tasty Snack Special into position. The McDonalds tank car is hauling imaginary Diet Coke (I'm an addict), a Coca-Cola trailer and a Hershey's dark chocolate trailer. The train passes a Kansas City Chiefs car that has to hold short of the crossing.
These first two postings attempt to illustrate how to build themes and stories into your layout. I'll have one more on this topic, then talk about how you can get started in the hobby. Stay tuned.