Me and Red tramped all over. The Apple Butter Route to the big G, the BN down south to the Bitter Biscuit line. Couple of boxcar Willies such as you’d see about anywheres.
I met him when I was just sixteen, run away from the Oklahoma dirt farm where Pap would take out his meanness on whatever was handy, usually me. I’d lie awake nursing a fat lip or wrenched arm and listen for the lonesome moan of the night freight, steel wheels rattling my mattress springs from a mile off.
One night I just lit out. Never went back.
It’s a huge temptation to go hog wild with Hobo speak since discovering this treasure trove of slang, but the strict adherence to 100 words forbids this. I’ve always loved hobo lore, and once hopped a freight myself to see what it was like. It’s a powerful piece of Americana, at once impossibly romantic and deeply tragic.