Hobo Love

fiction

We both enjoy riding the rails and don’t mind getting dirty in order to do it. Grime is part of train travel, especially at the boxcar level. Plenty of fresh air. Heading West, when the train gets to western Nebraska, nights can be chilly. Then all through Colorado, the altitude rises and even the days become cool. By the time we start snaking through the Rockies, it’s time to slide the door shut and wrap yourself in whatever blankets are at hand. Leave a slit open during the day so you can catch some of the scenery, because believe me, it’s worth catching.

Not many people hang their clothes outside to dry, now that machine dryers are ubiquitous. Few pies are left to cool on windowsills. Fortunately, thanks to cheap Chinese clothing, the world is overflowing with free used and sometimes even new garments, and church groups offer free lunches in church basements all over the place. You’ve just got to ask.

Compared to me, Greta is shy, so I’m the one who does the talking. I’m not the least bit embarrassed about our position. Many people look at us with envy. It was Helen Keller, born blind and deaf who said “The reason nobody has ever experienced Security is because it doesn’t exist. Life is either an exciting adventure or it is nothing.”

I’ve been able to see and hear since birth, but I stand with Helen. No use hedging your bet, this is all there is, so you might as well go for whatever interests you and forget about asking for permission. People fool themselves into thinking that if they ask the right person in a position of authority for help, it will get easier. It won’t. There is no one “above” you in any sense of the term.

We hobos enjoy a freedom that others deny themselves. We love our freedom, and that liberty sets us free to love, really love, ourselves and others. This is the essence and totality of hobo love.

Everyone likes the idea of freedom, but few are prepared to pay its price. With freedom comes responsibility and letting go of blame altogether. No excuses. Envy disappears when one takes charge of ones’ own life, and jealousy is replaced by admiration for those who have gone after what they wanted and gotten it.

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