Huddling Frozen In A Moving Boxcar

Hobo’s Lullaby-Can’t You Hear The Steel Rails Humming

Colorado Springs
Oct. 8, `70

I ate breakfast with two Spokane Jesus freaks and afterwords the three of us went looking for a train to hop. The Jesus freaks and I, the night before, discovered that we shared the same objective. They were going to Oklahoma City and I was going anywhere that would get me out of the goddamn cold. The Jesus freaks told me that they followed the scriptures and thought the brotherhood at St. Andrews were a bunch of heretics. They told me
that Jesus people were the true (pure) followers of Christ. After listening to their gospel, I had to laugh when one of them threatened to cut the throat of the gas station attendant who wouldn’t allow us to loiter in his gas station. By that time, we had been to the train yard, identified a southbound train, and were killing time until the train left the yard. The friend of Jesus got so upset with the attendant that it made me feel like I had passed
through a time warp, become a Crusader, and was in the midst of smiting the infidels.

Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait long before our train
left the yard. The three of us climbed into a boxcar and huddled in the back freezing. After the train pulled out of the yard we were free to walk around. Actually, in addition to the rules I have already mentioned concerning hitchhiking on trains, I discovered a couple more. Never jump a train in the winter and don’t expect to make good time if you do. Averaging about thirty miles an hour (I
could run faster then the train moved at times), we almost froze to death. When I wasn’t shivering in my sleeping bag, I ran end to end in the boxcar. Listening to the Jesus freaks go on about how God won’t desert them under these conditions was pathetic. After four hours of this, I had had enough. I got off the train in Colorado Springs and took a room in the YMCA. It was a forced decision, I was
freezing to death, and I needed to thaw out. I resolved not to spend so much money after that.


About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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