I’ve told you before about the hoboes who used to camp out at the big culvert under the railroad just a couple of hundred feet east of Bob’s house. In the summer there would sometimes be 20 or 25 hoboes living there.

Lots of times Bob and I would visit and talk to them about their travels and what they had seen. I asked one of them how come it seemed to me they just seemed to pick my family’s house to come bummin’ at every few days. He told me my house was “marked” by the hoboes as being a good place to go for a free meal.

I guess he was right because I had heard daddy tell mama as long as there was a bite in the house to always feed the hoboes and never turn one away from something to eat. Bob and I never found any mark visible to us but we both knew for sure there had to be a sign of some kind.

The old hobo who gave us a warning about “growing up” the way we were heading still is in my mind at times.

I’ve told you about “Piney” Young and other neighborhood men who cared enough for us young kids to give us real good advice and help, but this was a complete and total stranger who told us to “not follow the path of a hobo.” He in effect said, “Being able to travel and go where you want to go seems to be a good thing but all it does for me is show me there ain’t many folks who really care for me and love me. And these are the type of folks I miss in my life.”

He seemed to know Bob and I had been having thoughts of “ridin’ the rails” and just going out into the world as hoboes would go and see what all could be seen. He appeared to be about 70 years old, but when he began talking to us we began paying more and more attention to what he was saying. As he talked about the lonely life of a hobo, the more and more closely Bob and I listened to him and the message he was giving us. We never saw him again but I still have him here in my mind along with others such as him.

All I can say is my church has really been a blessing for me. The Rev. Dick DeMerchant has always been there for me in times when I needed someone to talk to, and I still go to him when those times roll up. Thank you very much, Dick.

I know I’ve already said far too much about trying to cook meals for me and my family and friends, but here’s a few more things I need to tell you.

Today I’ve been cooking a crock-pot of pinto beans for supper and the plan is to have with them a skillet of cracklin’ corn bread and a pan of sweet potato munchies. Tomorrow is my day for making shrimp fettuccine. Wish me luck on that one too, OK?

With this many beans left over I guess my next big meal after this week will be that Mexican casserole. It sure tastes good. I may try my hand on making a big pot of chilli. Just wait and see I guess. And I don’t wanna forget my Cajun friend, “Cat Daddy,” and all the recipes from the Bajou swamp-land his mother sent into me at our job site down in Louisiana.

My favorite of that whole bunch was low country boil, and, like I have said, it wouldn’t surprise me if that Cajun delight moved up to being a reality around Christmas this year. With so many good things to eat just waiting to be fixed, it’s hard to pick out just one for next on your list, but I’m going to do just that thing.

Herb Linginfelter is a Lenoir City native who often writes of his years growing up here. Contact him at 865-986-7248.