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Hobos

By Cece Poister



 "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
 John 13: 34-35

Back in the fifties it was not uncommon to see hobos traveling through our town in the back alleys. There were trains about four blocks from our house and hobos hitched rides on them. Later in life I found out that they would mark houses with the sign of the fish indicating that these were places that would feed them a meal. There was a very tiny one on our back yard fence pole.

My mother never refused them food and they were always very polite in asking.

One night in August on my bother’s birthday we were at the table eating dinner getting ready to enjoy some birthday cake. There was a knock on the back door. My mother answered it and found it was a hobo asking for some food. When he saw the cake and all of us he apologized and said he would move on.

My mother said “stay here, and in fact, come and join us”. Although we were about ready to sing “Happy Birthday” and cut the cake my mother made us wait till our hobo first had some dinner. We then sang, and he joined in. After eating cake he thanked us profusely and moved on.

Mom told us many of these men had come back from WWII, had no jobs and were just looking for a little helping hand. I shall never forget the generous and joyful spirit of my mother and her lessons to us about sharing what we had with others.

John 13:34, 35

4 comments (Add your own)

1. Liz wrote:
I'm so glad you shared this story. What a beautiful example of scripture lived out. Luke 6:30 says "Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back."

Thu, June 8, 2017 @ 9:56 AM

2. Frank wrote:
I also remember those days. We also lived next to the railroad tracks, and as you said, the mothers would always take time to feed the "hobos"...They always were appreciative. Also, during WW II Troop Trains would be stopped and the women would also bring them sandwich's and cookies....

Fri, June 9, 2017 @ 12:55 PM

3. Emily wrote:
Hi, Cece!

I enjoyed reading your post. Thank you for sharing the loving kindness your mother lived out through her faith in Christ. Powerful!

Sincerely,
Emily and Ben

Sun, June 11, 2017 @ 7:41 AM

4. K-Bar wrote:
In 1957 I was seven years old, and lived about a half mile from the Santa Fe railroad yard at New South Yards, in Houston. My friend Dusty and I used to sneak around and spy on the tramps in the hobo jungle behind the Fed-Mart store on Mykawa Road. The area where we used to play, build clubhouses and forts in now covered by the I-610 South loop, but the area where the jungle was, next to Kuhlman's Gully in 1957, is still there, and tramps still stay there occasionally.

When I was nineteen, and out hitchhiking around the U.S., I caught my first freight train, at Clyde Yards in Cicero, Illinois. It went to Minneapolis, and in Minnie we caught another train to the High Line and eventually to Portland.

This train was the start of years of trainhopping and tramping, a period of my life that I remember very fondly. There are few things I love as much as I love catching out.

This summer in Britt, Iowa, at the National Hobo Convention (on August 8th,) twenty-one other hobos and I started the Hobo Church. Members of the Hobo Church met together three times ay the Convention, and twice since August--once in Minneapolis and once in Sandusky, Ohio.

We are a non-denominational Christian church and have members who claim a variety of denominational affiliations, including Roman Catholic, Episcopalian, Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist and just plain Christian. We are all about worshiping God, and not too picky about labels. We have a not-very-sophisticated web site at Hobo Church.org, that has a statement of faith and general goals.

We'd like to invite you all to come to Britt this coming summer and meet us, and worship with us.

Wed, November 8, 2017 @ 1:10 PM

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