Friday, June 23, 2017

Hobo Joe

I'm not to going to complain about Amtrak today. Oh, it'll get its day under the Marty microscope. But not this day. I'm on a short vacation here in New York City and will keep things properly light.

Me Grandpa Joe rode the rails back in the 1920s. He hopped freights whenever the spirit moved him. Consequently, he lived all over the United States in his late teens and early twenties. I have to admit there's a part of me who admires that roaming lifestyle. Go where you decide when you decide. It was certainly easier to do that a century ago, to stay off the grid and just live your life. Ah well.

He wasn't a bum, though, as many folks think of those who traipsed around the nation as he did back then. He was a hobo. Hoboes worked their way around. When Joe got off a train somewhere, he looked for a few weeks' work. Even hoboes needed a couple bucks.

Consequently he worked on many farms and in factories, and even a couple stints on ranches, once in Montana and once in North Dakota. Part of his job in Montana, oddly, interestingly enough, was taking the ranch owner's wife to Church. Joe was a serious Catholic and went wherever he landed; in that case the rancher wasn't and didn't attend Church, but his wife was and did. So when Joe was there he drove woman to Church. He was going anyway and at the time it saved the boss the trouble. It didn't hurt that he apparently made a couple extra dollars on an off day doing what he would have done anyway.

But to the real point. Hoboes worked (well, okay, other than with the stolen train rides) while bums just wanted a handout. Hoboes looked down on bums. Joe was a hobo. Don't call nuthin' but that.

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