Thursday, July 21, 2011



Today, a true Hobo stopped by at Andy's Place.  It has been a WAY long time since I've seen a real Hobo.

Won't go in to what went on this a.m., but it put me in mind of the first time I realized that some folks didn't have a house to live in, a bed to sleep in, or a table to put their feet underneath.

It was one of those hot Summer nights we have here in NW Louisiana.  It was probably in 1967, or '68.  Just about every (at least every other) Friday night, Momma & Daddy would load all us kids up in the Station Wagon, and we'd drive the 1000 yards down Old Minden Road to the Barksdale Drive-In Theater. 

It was a big deal.  Daddy would back the Wagon in backwards so us kids could watch out the back window.  Or, he'd take the El Camino (or the IH Pickup...yep, he had one of those, too), so me and my brothers and sister could sit up in the bed of it on lawn chairs and look at whatever film they were showing.  Momma would cook a HUGE Kroger sack full of popcorn for us kids at the house before we left.

I'm not sure why Daddy always turned the vehicle around, but I've got a pretty good idea that he and Momma didn't care nothing about looking at the film.  Us kids always caught them necking like a couple of teenagers.  Just sayin'... hot Friday night we were pulling in to the Barksdale Drive-In Theater (which got tore up by a tornader and was never rebuilt...must have been in about '72...maybe before that...not sure), and across Old Minden Road we all saw a fellow walking.  He was the ultimate Hobo.  The man had his red bandana tied up on a stick with probably all of his worldly possessions...and the long stick hung over his right shoulder...trudging along.

Daddy said, "He's livin' off the fat of the land."  Momma asked, "You ever think that would be a good life?"  Daddy said, "No.  Not with the life I have." 

Then, Mom & Dad went on to explain to us kids what a Hobo was.

Not posting this to pass judgment, or cast aspersions.  It's just that our visitor this morning put me in mind of that event.  And, it put me in mind of The Merle's classic.

...but I keep thumbin' through the phone books, and lookin' for my Daddy's name in every town...

...never travel in a hurry, 'cause I got nobody waiting for me anywhere...


  1. "Livin' off the fat of the land". Love that.

    There's somethin' about Merle Haggard songs that always choke me up a little. I really like that one.

  2. The only hobo that I was aware of was a man by the name of Claude Robertson. He would sometimes show up at the little Baptist Church that we attended in the small East Texas town where I grew up. The rumor was that he had a lot of money but chose that life.

  3. ...never travel in a hurry, 'cause I got nobody waiting for me anywhere...

    You have NO ideer how long it took me to learn that lil piece o' wisdom when I set out on the road these many years ago. Type A behavior dies hard... REALLY hard.

    Apropos o' not much: I'm thinkin' your Daddy and Momma knew what drive-ins were REALLY all about. ;-)

  4. Toby and I used to do take our lawn chairs and the play-pen for our son - put it all in the back of our truck and go to the drive in in Dallas - good times.

    I never knew a hobo, personally. Through the years, there were a few hermits in RR that lived up in the mountains and did a bit of panning for gold. Both of the hermits I knew were basically mean drunks that did not do well in society.

  5. interesting info:

    Tramps and hobos are commonly lumped together, but in their own sight they are sharply differentiated. A hobo or bo is simply a migratory laborer; he may take some longish holidays, but soon or late he returns to work. A tramp never works if it can be avoided; he simply travels. Lower than either is the bum, who neither works nor travels, save when impelled to motion by the police.[2]

    Was your guy a hobo, tramp, or bum?

  6. Nancy, the guy travels. It was obvious he wasn't from around here from our conversation. Would he work? I think probably...but I didn't offer any work, so I don't know.

    So, he's either a tramp, or a hobo.

    I'm suspecting tramp is more likely, though.


Don't cuss nobody out, okay?