My granddaughter Gracie showed me how to use “emoticons” when texting…you know, those little symbols that “say” something without using words. It’s fun… kind of like a secret language! Sometimes I’ll get a text from her that will just be those symbols…like a secret message just between us!
I thought that this was some new high-tech invention…but the hobos perfected these “secret symbols” way before we ever heard of texting, or cell phones, or “emoticons.”
HOBOS…we don’t hear that term too often these days. They were itinerant workers…travelers…adventurerers…who road the rails in search of whatever lies just around the bend. And…it was often more about the “journey” than the destination.
It was hard life…and…it was also a “brotherhood”…kind of a “secret society”…and they even had…yes, “secret symbols.”
They would etch these symbols on the side of buildings or in the ground…to tell their friends what to expect.
The VL’s MAN tells how so many of these men would stop at their house…and always left with a full stomach and smile on their faces. His mother never turned anyone away…surely there was this symbol etched nearby.
No doubt there were challenges…and for every woman like Grandma Dunn…there were probably a few who had this symbol near their house!
“Will Get Cussed Out”
It had to have been so hard…
And they had to have been scared, and lonely, and sometimes sad…but this was their life…
So, they came up with this symbol…to give them strength…and encouragement…and to keep them focused on what lies “just around the bend”
“Never Give Up”
A symbol for all of us…as we ride the rails of life…