Sunday, August 3, 2014
A couple of times a summer, a thin man dressed in black would politely knock on our back door about an hour before suppertime. His face looked old and weather-beaten, and despite the heat he always wore layers of clothing. The little cart with his belongings sat by the front gate.
He would ask my mom if there was any food he could have that night. So she made extra of whatever she was preparing for dinner, keeping me inside the house while the man waited on the back steps. She filled a plate for him, and he sat on the steps and ate. After finishing his dinner he knocked on the door, said thank you, and continued on his way.
Afterward my dad would launch into stories of the many hobos who passed through our small Pennsylvania town on freight trains during the Depression, looking for a meal and sometimes sleeping in the sheds at the family feed mill. “They’re homeless,” said my dad, “down on their luck, and it’s good for us to feed them.”
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