I was born in the south. I live in the south and will die in the south. This is only a small part of the memories I share.
My Honest Answer Is
No, to the headline. Hobo's and tramps (so called) are people. I don't care how much you slice it, dice it, or spread jam on these names, they are real. They all had or now have souls, hearts, and names. No, they are not animals or mysterious creatures formed by old wives fables and swamp land, the hobo's and tramps history can easily be found simply by heading to the internet or public library and I do not have to give you what title to see.
Have you walked outside lately? And have you found something or someone who burglarized your memories? You will. Life, I think, is preserved to give you and I just that moment. I know. It happened to me and fool-like, I did not pay attention. Don't make this mistake. You will not like it
Unless you require a tutor to teach you the difference in what (one of my) regular hubs appear, then you will love this. I am going completely free-form abstract without sign or sunshine, but sometimes you will not see any sense in this new narrative, but there again, neither will I. And even that will not cost me a night's sleep. I know where my refrigerator is located.
As you all know, I have never mastered the formula or template for producing those Editor's Choice, Blue Ribbon winning, hubs. Somehow I tried and it did not pan out. There were some at Sutter's Mill who panned-out over 12 million bucks all in gold and I wonder if they ever paid tax on that? Who cares? Who really cares? I don't.
These words are a section of Jimmie Rodgers' song, "Hobo Bill's Last Ride," and you can feel the pain and suffering that Rodgers seen on his tours on trains.
HOBO BILL’S LAST RIDE
Ho -oh oh bo-oh-oh Billy
Riding on an eastbound freight train, speeding through the night
Hobo Bill, a railroad bum was fighting for his life
The sadness of his eyes revealed the torture of his soul
He raised a weak and weary hand to brush away the cold
Ho -oh oh bo-oh-oh Billy
I Believe That You Asked Once
well, what's the difference between a hobo and a tramp? Several. It's your fault and mine for being so blind and insulated that we do not know one thing about these folks. All we see is those pitiful photos of pitiful people who do nothing but sit and ask for a few nickels to buy a sandwich or cup of coffee. Hobo's and tramps call a few pieces of change and a cup of Joe, a b big financial break-through. It's about their point of view. Yours and mine need to be examined for that matter.
For too long, "I" have been accustomed to looking down my nose to the tramps and hobo's and did not like them because those industrious, all-American folks preached to me just what to think and things to say about them. None which were the Gospel. But all in all, I can easily sit down in any coffee shop and strike up a conversation about hobo's and tramps and tell the strangers sitting at a nearby table just how sorry the tramps and hobo's (that I have just seen) panhandling in our town. Sheesh! Disgusting. Two words that I no longer use.
In my 67 years, I have met one real tramp, and he just claimed that he was one of those tramps who's looking for a bite.. I was visiting my mom and this guy walked up to the kitchen door and proceeded to open the door and say, well, I'm one of them tramps and I need a bite to eat. My mom who wrote the manual of conservative-living, screamed for him to leave. My mom, a God-respecting lady, handed him a sandwich and like he said, he just went away.
As he walked away, that scripture hit my mind: "I was hungry and you fed me not," was pretty clear at that time. No debate. At that time I was just 27 and yes, I thought that I knew pretty much everything there is to know. Now do you see just how stupid that I was? That is not to say that in the years after that I haven't said other stupid things. Mankind, I believe, is not geared to be right all of the time.
And during the years of 2002 and 2003, I was on the road while working for a local radio station and I had a meeting with a potential advertiser and I had to drive a good bit to see him and fight the snow that was falling. I was thinking more about my business than what was about to happen.
I went by this young man with an Army duffle bag and he was just standing near the highway and without sticking out his thumb, I knew that he needed help. As I went by, my soul and spirit screamed, just what are you doing? I made a neat u-turn and got back to the guy who did need a ride to my hometown. He said that he was hitched from South Carolina and going to Colorado. I advised him to our city hall where our local police will be glad to help strnded travelers with food, a motel room and a few bucks to help. As he got out of my car, he smiled and walked toward the building.
I felt so good that I really didn't care about if I sold an ad or not.
Now You Ask About a Tramp
In order to answer you, I must share the following: In 1973, Robert Aldrich, directed a film named, "Emperor of The North Pole," with Lee Marvin starring as "A No. 1," because his talents of hoboing made him a leader of hobo's and how and when to "ride the rails," because he was a pro. His enemy was not hunger or stress, but an evil train conductor named, "Shack," played by Ernest Borgnine, who had no compassion, and loved to kick the poor hobo's from his train. He hated "A No. 1," until one last time, "A No. 1" and "Shack," met and fought. This film which also stars, Keith Carradine, "Cigaret," a young hobo with too much ambition and starts to follow "A No. 1" to steal all of his rail-riding talents, so the entire mix of actors with various gifts makes for a good student for knowing the difference between a tramp and hobo.
For me, it's all too clear. In the Great Depression, there were numerous men and (some women) who did not have a home or job, who swallowed what pride they had to hitch a train for traveling to the next town to find a job, any job. But this real-life thought did have a good reality. Most of the train conductors who did feelfel the plight of the hoboes, would not kick any of the guys and girls off the track for fear of killing them. Fact is, the conductors grew to give them their extra change for the next meal. I have even read about a few of these hobo's who were so persistent to come when the train with the conductor was a friend, talked the hobos into the train company to hire them as a lowly-paid job, but it was far better than "beating" the same rail and one who tends it."
One good thing about many good things that I have come to know about tramps and hobo's is that these guys all at one time, had a lot to lose, but when the Crash of 1929 came, several million Americans (then) knew the slap of an icy-bitter wind and had to stand in a long line of people who had the same burden: a crust of bread and a cup of soup so they would not starve. Did you read that, so they would not starve?
You and I could safely say that duirng the Great Depression, life went from top to bottom and from left to right and no one was immune. Not even the wealthy, when some of them jumped from tall buildings at knowing that all of their wealth was gone. Bankers, financial advisors, stock brokers and the like were suddenly plummeted to the rough sidewalk and cried like whipped puppies for fear of their own survival.
Last Sunday, Feb. 7, I had the sudden-fear of what a noted minister of the Word of God, Bro. Charles Stanley, who pastors the First Baptist Church in Atlanta and he used the Word of God, not jokes and entertainment to get his point over with his flock. You could not hear a pin drop. His last statement hit me squarely in the jaw when he said, at this time in America, we Christians are going to have to pray and be sincere when we do, and if we will simply view the things that are going on and behind the administration that we elected for president and unless I along with you and your family and friends sincerely pray and seek God, our nation is on the brink of being the nation that our ancestors, mom's, dad's, and grand parents helped to build.
And am I afraid of what Stanley was talking about? Amen!
February 8, 2021___________________________________________________
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© 2021 Kenneth Avery
Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on February 10, 2021:
Your article made me think of the song, "Buddy can you spare a dime." It looks like post-COVID an economic slump may follow. Hopefully, it won't be too hard and it won't take so long. In the Philippines, we are already facing difficult times, and we haven't even got a vaccine yet. There's been a rise in crime and hopefully, it won't be for much longer. But with such great losses, I think any country in the world will have this global economic depression worsen even after the vaccine has conquered the virus.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 10, 2021:
The Great Depression caused many people to hit the streets, join long food lines, etc. Look at the food lines today!
Most of the hobos in days gone by were eager to do a bit of work for food, clothing, etc. They had a code and learned where the best places were, where people might help them. My grandmother was definitely on that list. My mother would often come home from school and see a hobo sitting on the stoop to her home. He would have done some chores like raking leaves or shoveling snow. My grandmother would feed him and send him on his way with clothing that she collected, assuming something would fit him.
Times were tough, and people did what they had to do to survive.
We need programs today, like the CCC, WPA, etc., to help people survive the current crisis of the pandemic and economic downturn that affects so many people. We also need to be compassionate and help people as much as we can. Feed the hungry, clothe the poor...these things and more are taught to all of us who follow the words of Christ.