Friday, August 8, 2008

Real Live Hobo

I wrote this one awhile ago but just reread it and remembered how awesome hobos are...

So I drove to Cottage Grove today at about 9 am to go some piano lessons at a house, and I got to the end of the driveway, and as I turned to head up towards the house, this man emerged from the cornfield holding something over his shoulder, and I could only make one assumption, being...

This man is a hobo and the thing over his shoulder is a bindle.

It has got to be true. He's a hobo with his bindle and he's "tramping" through the corn fields belonging to my home school family, in between riding the rails and swapping stories for sponge baths. It has got to be true.

But I look closer, and really he's just a grown ass man in a full suit of camouflage, carrying a paintball gun over his shoulder. I stare at him, my car stopped in the middle of the road, and he looks back, brushes some leaves from his uniform, and carries on down the street.

Here's the part when I feel little "...?" about my thought process. As soon as I realized he wasn't a hobo with a bindle, I forgot all about him and never stopped to ask or think about what the hell this man was doing in the cornfield, and why he was wearing camouflage, and especially why he had a paintball gun over his shoulder. At 9 am. In Cottage Grove.

I guess it just didn't matter anymore, once he wasn't a hobo.

Sometimes when I can't sleep I like to read a book I already have read 28 times: Fried Green Tomatoes. I've been reading it for probably over ten years, and this has never stood out to me before, but the other night I was reading and I laughed so hard and then couldnt go to bed for even longer because of the beginning of the chapter starting on page 17. Here it is:

Davenport, Iowa
Hobo Camp
October 15, 1929

Five men sat huddled around a low-burning fire, orange and black shadows dancing on their faces as they drank weak coffee out of tin cans: Jim Smokey Phillips, Elmo Inky WIlliams, BoWeevil Jake, Crackshot Sackett, and Chattanooga Red Barker - five of the estimated two hundred thousand men and boys roaming the countryside that year.

Oh god. Oh GOD. How was this not the most hilarious thing in the world before recently? I mean, Crackshot Sackett? Weak coffee out of tin cans? Give me a break. I cant believe that, at one time, I was able to read seriously about hobos, hobo names, and hobo camps. I mean, god. that shit is the funniest thing anybody can even discuss. Ever in life. Damn.


Sara Ashes said...

i would think hobos would drink strong coffee.

Reem Tara said...

I agree! Don't they need to be at their best whilst riding the rails?

Sara Ashes said...

yes! and on their toes so they don't all of a sudden fall asleep and some other hobo makes off with their bindle.

Reem Tara said...


waa waa!

Tara said...

I was listening to This American Life yesterday and one guy on their was talking about scary dreams he had that kept him from falling asleep. One of the things he mentioned was "Hobos" and then like laughed and repeated it, like yeah I have nightmares about hobos.

stacywacy said...

Did you know that we missed the national hobo convention last week in Iowa. It must be true 'cause I heard it on "Whad' ya Know."

Reem Tara said...

The fact that we all missed that conference is totals barf-o-matic. That's what I think. I can't even believe this.