Monday, October 5, 2015

A Vagabond Heart

I'm always running behind the time
Just like this train
Shaking into town
With the brakes complaining
Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose

And nothin' ain't worth nothin' but it's free

Now I'm transcontinental 3000 miles from my home
I'm on the California Zephyr watching America roll by
My route. Leaving from Union Station in Denver, Colorado. All aboard!!
Settle down into the clickety clack
With the clouds and the stars to read
I'm rocking away in a sleeping car
We all know Dylan's got a vagabond heart
My little brother, Jeff, probably singing a train song of his very own...
A mural on a side street wall in the dusty train town of Laramie, Wy
And these rocks and these cactus going by...
My other route, along the California coast, aboard the Coast Starlight
Steel rails, chasing sunshine round the bend
Winding through the trees, like a ribbon in the wind

Watch the PBS American Experience History series, Riding The Rails. My dad was one of these kids.
It presents the poignant and little-known story of teen hobos during the 1930's, a time of desperation and bitter hardship. These young itinerant Americans were all searching for a better life; what they found was a mixture of freedom, camaraderie, misery, and loneliness.

"One house had marks on it indicating that the people were generous with hoboes. We stopped, the lady gave us work to do, then served us food. We appreciated her good food and kindness so much that we pitched in and cleaned her yard including flower beds."
Speaking of kind lady's, when my dad was a small boy, his own mother had a sign in their yard indicating "a kind woman lives here." She'd make them sandwiches and while they ate, my dad would sit there asking them all kinds of questions. Right then and there, little Bobby knew just what he wanted to do...
The caboose on the wall mural in Laramie, Wy
There's prob'ly rich folks eatin'
In a fancy dining car
They're prob'ly drinkin' coffee
And smokin' big cigars
I don't mind not knowing what lies down the track

Cause I'm Looking out ahead, to keep my mind from turning back

My brother, Glenn, wrote a song about a train trip our parents had taken us on, a million years ago.
I was 7 years old. All the way from California to Maine. We've had train fever ever since. Listen....

My father always said that the sound of a train whistle is in his blood.

He signs his book, Ridin' Free, like this.


See you all somewhere further down the line! ==================>>




  1. Replies
    1. Nikki!
      Thank you for the well wishes, friend.
      We'll have to do lunch when I get back. My guess is I will have some good stories. ;)

  2. This sounds heavenly...trains have for ever been a favorite of mine too...I wish I were on the train going by Glenwood Springs....I have to get that book and just imagine ...Enjoy the your photos xo

    1. There's something about a train...
      I'll think of you when I chug a lug along Glenwood Springs, through the mountain tunnels!
      I'll be happy to gift you Guitar Whitey's book. I have a stack of them. He'd be honored. ;)
      Thank you, as always! x

  3. I love these pictures of you waiting to hop a train in your beautiful skirt and hair blowing wild. It's like you're bringing the 'kind-hearted woman' and the 'mother/wife left behind while her man rides the rails exploring the country' full circle - taking on the adventure yourself - it's in your heart and blood!

    You have such a talented family! When you get on that train and head west, be sure to stop by. The train runs right through my neighborhood's backyard. I'll scratch the signs for a sit down meal, good water, and safe camp on my fence post so you'll know how to find me :D

    1. Hahahahaha! You are hilarious. I'll look for your place!! ;) A hobo girl could use a sit down meal.
      I would love it if the train tracks were in my neighborhood! I can hear the freights whistle blow every morning at about 3am here. The tracks are 7 blocks away.
      Hey...I thought you and I were suppose to hop a train haven't changed your mind, have you? ;)

    2. Lots of people in my neighborhood talk about hearing the crash of the trains "coupling", especially at night, as comforting. It became such a popular topic that our local book shop challenged people to write romantic poetry about "train coupling" and hosted a night of readings :D

      And yeah, of course we're gonna go riding together! You gotta get out here and pick me up, tho ;)

  4. Bless your sweet vagabond soul, dear sister! Enjoy the ride on those shiny steel rails and revel in the song they sing!

    1. Like a whippoorwill!!!
      I'll tell Casey Jones to slow down. ;)
      Thanks Sagey.

  5. with a bear 'round her neck and shoes on her feet,
    she hops the train to nowhere....


    1. ...and I ain't lookin' back, neither, Bernard. :))
      My good luck Bear goes everywhere with me these days.

  6. this post is divine, a true work of art! it all feels so right, so appropriate, so necessary! I wish you bon voyage and a delightful visit with your parents. how special that we are so near, celebrating nearly same-age parents, and wise enough to be know how important this is. we are so fortunate, aren't we?! xoxo

    1. Yep. You're so right. (Again)
      To celebrate our parents is a gift that we know and understand.
      I feel sorry for those who take for granted, who don't find the time nor see the importantance of spending quality time with the ones who gave them life.
      I am the fortunate one. Celebrating them. Celebrating you.

  7. What a fun and interesting post! I love that Art Deco-style California Zephyr you're riding on and the train murals in Laramie, and of course, you and the train cars! Your brother is very talented, too. Spook (the cat) and I watched his video. :) Have a safe trip and a good visit, my travelin' friend!

    1. Haha! My cats like Glenn's songs, too!
      He also sings one called "Little Kitties." It's just awesome. Very catchy.
      Thanks for your well wishes and kind comments.
      That California Zephyr is suppose to be the most scenic of them all!
      I'll tell you more, as I travel. So long, Diana!

  8. Oh Lynnie-poo, It looks like you are having another fun adventure. I love the shots of you and the trains. Such a beautiful model. Miss ya round here. kisses!

  9. Jennyyy!! So sweet you are! Missing you, too, and our little talks in the break room...
    Hey, I think it's time to plan another night out with our circle of friends. Yah?
    Maybe a gathering 'round my chiminea fire? Bring Xavier. :)

  10. Wow, what a wonderful adventure. Fabulous pictures too. We must talk again! Love you x