Fri April 27, 2007
Mississippi Hobo Jungle
By Sarah Ledbetter
Water Valley, MS – For those of us with something close to a regular life, the whole notion of the Hobo seems entirely foreign. But life on the roads and rails was a matter of survival for about two million American workers during the Depression. In fact, it still is, for a small but robust population of traveling workers who call themselves hobos today. Yes, traveling workers, not tramps folks who travel but don't work and not bums those who neither travel nor work.
To separate fact from fiction, and to get a feel for the hoboing life, Sarah Ledbetter headed down to Water Valley, Mississippi to speak with a handful who had gathered for fellowship and storytelling late last week. She reports from Turnage Drug Store, Loco's caboose, and the Water Valley jungle.
Meet Blue Moon, Loco Larry, and Iwegan Rick, just a few of the folks that converge annually for Hobo Gatherings in the mid-South. If you turn up at the next gathering, you might meet them yourself, this very weekend in Jackson, Tennessee at the Casey Jones Village Hobo Gathering. Storytelling, singing, Hobo arts, fellowship, and mulligan stew will be served up, before the bos part ways. They'll meet up again in late summer for the Britt, Iowa National Hobo Gathering in mid-August. All are welcome and encouraged to attend both gatherings.
To learn more and to see more photos from the Water Valley gathering, check out the Casey Jones Museum's website at:
Or www.caseyjones.com to find out more about events in Jackson this weekend, April 27-28.