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Ramble with Storm: Hobos & tracks

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storm3x Mulling things on my morning ramble

with Storm, the family's mixed Lab.

Another two inches of snow Wednesday night and early Thursday, then almost another inch last night.

The light snow must have drawn the animals out. There were plenty of fresh tracks from rabbits, cats, mice and birds. No pheasant tracks and I don't think we passed over any squirrel tracks.

More the pity no tire tracks over squirrels. Stop myself.

Just a good winter morning.

I thought mine were still the first human tracks on the back side of the town pond. Then I saw a pair of foot prints angling off from the stopped boxcars on the railroad tracks.

There isn't a house within a mile in that direction.

So I wondered if there might be a hobo holed up in one of the boxcars.

Of course, that made me wonder if boxcar was one or two words, so I looked it up.

While mulling words, I wondered whether that person would properly be described as a hobo, bum or homeless.

The only one of those three words with romance clinging to it is hobo.

I didn't wonder enough to wander over to the boxcars to see if anybody was home.

Beside the morning was brisk enough in the low teens that a mile and a half was enough rambling for one morning.

Back home.

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Yes Dale, they are still out there...

Earlier this year, while fishing on the Chicago river, I met a group of young guys with southern accents who were riding out some bad weather by temporarily living under Wacker drive downtown.

"We're not bums, man. We're Hobos." one of them explained, with some pride. "We ride the rails!"

On his phone was a video clip of himself riding a fright train, like a misplaced surfer, somewhere in the hinterlands of West Virginia. He looked happy and free.

Over the course of a coupla days, I heard stories of the modern rail and road.

I pitched in a few bucks for beer and learned of a subculture I didn't even know still existed.

It was kinda like a time warp.....all that was missing was a campfire, and Woody Guthrie strumming a guitar.

When the weather broke, they were gone.

For me, it was another new dimension to the urban fishing experience.

Spike, that'a a good story. I did mean there is a distinction between the three words: bum, homeless and hobo. At the end of college around 1980, we rented a dump next to an old man who had wonderful tales of riding the rails during the depression. some of it was necessity, some of you could tell was just for the sheer enjoyment of it and a chance to see the country.

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on December 17, 2010 8:09 AM.

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