Make Thanksgiving Meaningful
INTRO. On a cold, rainy day in late November 1935, a tramp - a hobo - came to the back door of may aunt's home begging for food. The nation and the world were locked tightly in the grip of a tragic depression.
My aunt's house in Bossier City, Louisiana (just outside of Shreveport), was about one block from the Illinois Central Railroad's local switching yards. It was also close to the main line from New Orleans to Chicago. During those poverty-ridden days restless and hungry men "rode the rails" from border to border and coast to coast. In their misery they sought food, shelter, and work at every hamlet or town.
Whenever a freight train stopped for an hour or so in Bossier City, a horde of hobos would tumble off, run down the dirt streets, and beg for food. Usually they were unsuccessful, because the people in town had very little more material goods than did the tramps. Only God could know how much misery and sorrow washed back and forth across this great nations nearly moribund in its problems.
So it was that this cold, wet, miserable man knocked at my aunt's back door. He had to be desperate to leave a dry boxcar and seek food in a thirty-five to forty-degree weather with rain pelting down. In all likelihood he was knocking in vain. But knock he did!
My aunt was home alone with one of her daughters. Usually she did not answer the persistent knocks of hobos unless her husband (the town marshal) or her older children were at home. She said that she had acute anxieties about tramps. In fact, hobos at times did attack people out of sheer desperation or what my mother used to call "pure devilment!"
When Aunt Earline heard the knock, she quietly pulled the kitchen curtain back, looked across her back porch, and noted with a sigh of relief that the screen door was locked. Then she saw the man!
He was a skinny little fellow, about five feet seven or eight inches, and he appeared to weight ...
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