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No Envy For The Hobo

Kenneth, born and raised in the South, resides in Hamilton, Alabama. He enjoys sharing his unique perspectives on life through his writing.

Riding the rails from town to town looking for work.

Riding the rails from town to town looking for work.

To Be Honest With You

in the past long years, I have met only two real hobo’s. I wish that I had met more. But when I came along, hobo’s suddenly became scarce—I guess that the “Culprit,” Johnny Law, tried to put a stop to riding the rails, and soon, the hobo’s, the smart ones, “saw the hand writing on the boxcar,” and one foggy morning, all of these men and women vanished from thin air. Each time that I read any true chronicle about the hobo, I am sad because of how they were treated—and even sadder that they are not here.

Just who were the Hobo’s? These men and women had to face The Great Depression, lasting from 1929 to 1939--began after the stock market crash of October 1929, which sent Wall Street into a panic and wiped out millions of investors. When there we no more jobs, no money money, the once-prosperous citizens had to take to the thumb to hitch a ride to find work and “ride the rails” (via railroads) to find employment, any employment.

For me, or anyone else, to declare, even wax philosophical, about The Lives of Hobo’s would make one sound very, very foolish, because if you or I never lived any time in the Hobo Experience, then we need to keep out mouths shut. The life of any hobo was needless to say, rough, challenging, even dangerous—with Death stalking these poor souls from every alley, in each empty boxcar, and deserted dwelling.

Living to the hobo was more of a Match against Survival with Survival winning on most days going away. The hobo had to have sharp wits. Sharp enough to make fast friends with those restaurant employees who would (take in trade) a burger, maybe a loaf of bread, for whatever the ‘Bo had on himself—whiskey, cigarettes, and on some days, a few bucks that he either panhandled or stole it via pick-pocket—yes, the truth must be out. There was such a spirit of fear and desperation that drove these people to survive by any means possible. Quite frankly, I can tell you upfront: I could not survive the Life of a Hobo, no matter if the areas where a lot of good-hearted people and begging was an easy mark. No, sir. I would probably . . .well, I’ll just stop right there.

Nothing is as lonely as riding an empty box car.

Nothing is as lonely as riding an empty box car.

The Year Was 1975

during a hot summer night. I was at home with my wife and young daughter. We had our front door open due to the summer heat, so what was the problem? None. Or at least I thought ‘none’ at the time. Before I could form a sensible thought, I heard the raspy voice of a man about 60 standing at my door. If he had been a blood-thirsty killer, my family and I would be dead. Harsh to talk about, but very possible.

“Well . . .I’m one of them hobo’s, and I was wondering if you have an outside spigot so I can get myself some water?” The hobo said with a big smile.

No sooner than the words had left his lips than I replied, “No, you may NOT get yourself any water on this private property, so please leave!” I said, then couldn’t believe that I could be so selfish and greedy toward a stranger. I found out that there is some severe scripture in The Bible that address a situation like this one.

Truth And

realistically, I have never read any article from any source that reported of a hobo killing nine folks, then leaving town with a pound of salami, the very thing that got him nabbed by the cops—the distinct aroma of salami wafting through the air. Personally, not all hobo’s were this brave or stupid, they were very wise and did not become a lightning rod for the authorities to roust from the warm basement of some innocent taxpayer and throwing him behind bars—to let the courts and public defender to worry about.

Salami. I have seen the time when I was so hungry that I could have made a good meal eating from a cafe’s dumpster. Maybe on the other hand, if I had been that same hungry ‘Bo, why didn’t the people with the salami have a package of pickled loaf? This choice is not only tasty, but its aroma is tough to detect.

Hobo Nabbed Due to The Stick of Salami in His Coat;

Hobo Makes Get-Away With a Package of Olive Loaf

Now I ask you. Of the two headlines, which one makes more sense? And which one might be on the evening news this evening? I, like you, have heard of more-bizarre than these bits of hard news.

In My Way of Thinking

there has never been a really-solid law that is against any and all people who are poverty-stricken and reduced to pan-handling in order to get the next meal. And if you will think about the hobo, who are making a comeback in certain areas of the country, we could get ready to be thinking just how we will treat these people who are REALLY down on life—with no visible means of a job or even a roof over themselves.

I think of that hobo who came to my house in 1978, and the pain of sadness hits me like a truck. I had to ask God to forgive me for that awful sin, which can be forgiven, but if were in God’s place, I would be the first to show the hobo a good deal of compassion. Would you?

March 13, 2019_______________________________________

And so the worn-out hobo is walking, begging for his next job or meal.

And so the worn-out hobo is walking, begging for his next job or meal.

© 2019 Kenneth Avery


Ken Avery on March 17, 2019:

Mr. Happy --- you pose a very interesting comment about a comment that someone on HP made about "treasures being laid up Heaven," and I have had several run-ins with him. Not anymore. I just do the best I can and sure, I would show the hobo a lot of compassion---clothing, shoes, food, and my respect toward them.

The hobo is, to me, one of God's agents whom He sends to teach us something that we missed.


Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on March 14, 2019:

"We had our front door open due to the summer heat, so what was the problem?" - I leave my door open from the Spring to Fall a lot of the times too. My friends can just walk-in and I don't have to come down from upstairs to unlock and open it. Makes things simpler. Plus, I have Faith. I think many people will not leave their door open because they are protecting their treasures yet:

19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven"

I just wrote the above lines on another article of a pretend Christian dude, here on Hub-pages. Unlike him, I feel that You understand those lines.

"I would be the first to show the hobo a good deal of compassion. Would you?" - I do not know that man's story and he never asked me for anything so, I do not know what I would do. What I generally do is give-out money, or cigarettes. Many ask for smokes so, I often give them a pack because I carry multiple packs in my backpack (for this reason) and I always, always carry a backpack. It's my Magic backpack! Many things can come out of it. ; )

You be well!

May Wakan Tanka walk with You.

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