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Steel Dreams

Updated on May 28, 2022
MFB III profile image

Artist, actor, poet, teacher, songwriter & actor with 4,000 poems & almost 1,000 songs written, performed recorded & published on line.

He put his wife in a sanatorium and his two daughters in an orphange and then he set off to find work


The distance men will go to perserve thier family and their way of life.

Steel away

By 1932, more than thirteen 
million Americans 
twenty-five percent of the 
workforce were unemployed. 
In that period of time, there 
was only one way to get around, 
and that was the railroad. 
By box car. Wherever you'd hear a 
rumor that a job was opening up, 
thousands would be sitting up 
on top of the car. We're talking about 
professional people reduced to being  
bums, hobos and lawbreakers to survive

My grand pap 
used to ride the rails
he'd steel away 
across their expanses
to escape the 
depression of the 30's
With his fleet feet running 
over the mounded gravel inclines
just missing the gaps 
between the ties
skipping two or three at a time 
in an acrobatic flight 
not seen much today
one misstep, and an 
arm or leg could be gone
His strong and calloused 
hand reached out
to snag a handle or 
a door lip as a grip
that when grabbed 
caused him to be be 
yanked forward as 
his legs swung deftly
up into the open maw 
of a boxcar mobile home
Sometimes another 
scraggly arm would emerge
to grab his hand and 
pull him in to safety
at other times a rougher 
fist would extend 
and disembark him 
with a solid blow 
and a tumble
to the grass that lay 
below the trestles banks
bruised and battered 
he'd wait for the next ride 
to come by and set him 
free from a small town
with no work to fill 
his pockets or his empty gut
he traveled all over the 
country that way 
for several years seeking 
hope and only finding
hobo camps where each 
man would bring something 
to add to the poor man's stew..
some tidbit stolen
or purloined from a 
farmers field or hen house
found laterally to the 
ties that bound him
to the iron path that took 
him to the next opportunity
he loved those years 
even though they were leaner
then a dessicated rat 
in a mouse traps slap
ten years after it had snapped....
he made tracks that stayed 
in his soul till the day he died
and I could often see 
distant horizons in his eyes
as he blew smoke rings 
from his non-filtered Raleigh's
and whispered of the 
glory days gone by 
still caught between the 
locomotives and the caboose
sipping cold water from a 
tin cup he filled my head 
with the chilly dawn's spent 
sleeping in a ventilated boxcar
or the splash of a river's 
flow to clean sleep dirt
from eyes that had seen 
little to dream about except
the endless breathtaking 
beauty all across the land
Sometimes even now 
when I hear the lonesome wail
of a train blowing it's solo song 
as it passes through
I can almost see him running 
alongside and catching the 
last express to eternity 
for an endless ride of joy
and I realize now that 
when he whistled 
it was so similar to that 
haunting sound that a train sends out 
over the sleepy villas and small towns 
where all the stationary folks reside.....
"Godspeed Grandpap Ebey 
I'll catch a later train
and bring some carrots 
for that hobo soup
I'll see you on the 
other side of the tracks....."
A hobo recipe my Granddad taught me.
Coffee Soup.
Sugar -use lots
Saltine crackers
crumble the saltines in a large bowl
use a lot of crackers
pour in sweetend coffee
in about five minutes you will have
a goopy, coffee flavored soup.
the crackers swell and absorb the coffee
it is a very filling and easy to snitch
sugar and crackerwise 
from restaurant counters.
I love it...enjoy!


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