Kenneth Avery is a Southern humorist with well over a thousand fans. The charm and wit in his writing span a nearly a decade.
We've trodden down this gravel road before. Way back in several hubs ago. My hobo hub was one of the first that I wrote. I am producing this one, not because I didn't like the first one, but because I am giving the hobo a deeper meaning. A hobo that I've learned to study means more than a funny character on this hub or in some film that cost $5,000.00 to make, hobo's salaries included.
Only a hobo knows his real meaning of life. We can describe (the) hobo as much as it will quench our thirst to fulfill the need to talk about something ordinary. And I am writing about the hobo. Not a traveling snake oil salesman or a fire-eater who makes his living much like the snake oil salesman. I wonder now if there's such a thing as fire-eating snake oil salesmen?
Only time will tell. (I get weary writing cliche's). Hobo's never have to worry one little bit about cliches. Their minds are well-occupied about finding food for the next meal or somewhere to sleep. Simple minded? Well, kind sir, madam, why don't you and I try living the life of a real hobo for three days and nights. Then we compare notes. This will tell us just how off base we are.
In early films, the hobo was portrayed as a bum with half cigar in tis mouth wearing shabby clothes with a cloth bag of his few good shirts and pants inside. Then, the sterotypical essense begins. "Mr. Hobo," is now seen sneaking around a train depot Which is really a wise idea because he can sort out a nice boxcar for him to take forty-winks as he plots his next tow
What really irked me once I started the study of hobo's. The behind-the-scenes type of thing. I found out that the majority of hobo's were less than common thieves. Thieves? Was Jesse James a hobo? What about John Dillinger? The hobo's "searched" the available places where foods from the area restaurants are thrown-away, just so they can have a good meal. I would not be so quick to call them a thief, because most hobo's were not that way by choice.
Some had decent-paying jobs, homes, and families. But once the Crash of '29 hit, hardly anyone had a job, home or family. A lot of these hard-working guys jumped from the twentieth-story because the shock of bankruptcy was too much to handle. As for their homes, they were foreclosed on by banks and begged for someone to buy them. Their families simply sneaked out of town at night time. Sure, hobo's had hard lives. But do not judge them too quickly. The families who did not bail, stayed and helped washing and ironing for the public and anything else that they could do to gain a penny or two here and there.
And I would wager that I have never paid money to see a Charlie Chaplin film. Not that I hated the guy, no. But his "only" character really angered me with this "Little Tramp" adventures to get the best of the highfaluting, then walk away itno the sunset on to another town to con whatever he could do to eat. If you like Chaplin, great. I like most of his works beside the tramp character.
Sure, some of the hobo's wore decent clothing that they saved from the bank who took their homes. These guys were smart. They wanted to, at least, look good while they padded the sidewalks applying for jobs. And sometimes in a blue moon, it worked. The more-industry-minded hobo's, were hired for menial labor work, but they felt a sense of pride in these jobs because to them, it was a way to buy food and other necessities for their families.
What Chaplin and his Hollywood-design of a good-natured tramp did not do as much for the pubic as the very truthful "Emperor of The North Pole," with Lee Marvin "A No. 1" and Ernest Borgnine "Shack". Keith Carradine shined as "Cigaret," the co-star who was trying to copy Marvin as the "No. 1," because the number stood for Marvin's status among railroad-riding hobo's and those in most every "hobo jungle."
Marvin's 1973 film did a more realistic job of portaying the lives of honest hobo's. No frills. No fan fare. No ticket tape on 5th Avenue, New York City. Just how tough and hard that a hobo had it in the Marvin film. Most people, including myself, appreciated Marvin, but could not tolerate Carradine and Borgnine. I know that I'm speaking as a film critic, but I'm not. Just telling you in my own words how I felt about this film.
The things that were sure was when my mom was talking to me a long time ago about how rough that she and her family had it during the Depression. Her dad worked all day long carving crossties for the railroad and the pay was a nickel a day. Yes. A nickel. And there are some in our own country who think that they have it hard.
But my mom told me something that really fits this hub. She said that tramps would walk by her home and a few of them would pull their hats and caps off and stop at their front porch and ask for something to eat. My mom was three at this time, but her mom always had something to give them because as her mom said, "these guys have it rougher than we do."
Thank God for her statement.
Another cold truth is this: I know right upfront that if I were forced to live the live of a hobo in 2021, I might as well throw-up my hands because I am not made from the materials as tough as my mom's tramp friends. (And I say the word tramps out of a deep respect because my mom told me word-for-word about these guys.)
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© 2021 Kenneth Avery
Readmikenow on September 08, 2021:
If you search the internet there are many modern "hobos." Some of them hop trains from place to place, there are others who hitchhike from place to place. The main thing they all do is record their adventures and share then on the internet. I guess these people could be considered 21st Century hobos. It makes me think the desire to live a life of adventure is present in every generation.
BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on September 07, 2021:
Hobo's might not be the right word, but that's the word that coins them.
We used to have a lot of them traveling through the tiny village where I was raised.
There was a railroad track nearby, but that train doesn't run there any longer.
I do remember a man knocking on our door & asking for something to eat.
My mother fixed him a sandwich & he ate it out on our front porch.
Then he disappeared.
It is an act of kindness thst I will always remember.