26th Annual Railroad Festival
April 15 - 18, 2004
Frisco Park - Amory, MS 38821

Over 60 of the Hobo Family made their way to Mississippi for the 2004 Hobo gathering in connection with the 26th Annual Railroad Festival.  Most of the hoboes camped out in the Hobo area of Frisco Park.

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MADmscharl2.jpg (34363 bytes)BigSkipKitch.jpg (28725 bytes)In addition to Frisco Park, Ms. Charlotte and Loco Larry's house on 5th Avenue South serves as a gathering place for many of the Hoboes.  Ms. Charlotte is nothing less  than a gracious  host for  the Hobo contingent, providing a welcoming meal of BBQ chicken & pork chops on Tuesday evening April 13, 2004.  Several BO's camp out at Larry's, using the Hobo shack and the grounds throughout the week.  Ms. Charlotte seems to take all the activity in stride, even with numerous guests all over the  house and Big Skip camped out in the kitchen!  Ms. Charlotte and  BurlingtonTongue.jpg (37032 bytes)StretchCHEF.jpg (22619 bytes)the  ladies organized the kitchen food preparation while Hobo Iron Chef Stretch worked the grill for the Tuesday night feed.  Stretch also prepared a delicious stew later in the week while K-9 Burlington kept Skip and New York Greenie away from  the pot.



Nightingale.jpg (24200 bytes)Wednesday was kind of quiet, except that Lady Nightingale tried to stop a train or something with her foot.  In any event, she ended up with fractures and for the rest of the week sported a High fashion/High $$$$ BOOT on her foot!


BeGone Norm and Sir Rev Bob headed out early to cut some walking sticks for future sales.  It  seems that they have a special spot nearby.

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The Collinwood Kid and Texas Madman rolled in Wednesday night with a ton of food.  Tex was complaining that it took forever to get out of Ohio.  Les has a real knack for rounding up food, and is shown here taking inventory.


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The parade crew started to assemble around 3 P.M. and the parade started off at 4 P.M. with injured Lady Nightingale allowed to ride in Mayor Tom Griffith's car!  Dick Miller drove a convertible with Steamtrain, while Mama JO and King Spike drove their own golf cart.  The rest of the BOs followed along and threw candy to the kids along the parade route.  Road Hog USA set a ferocious pace  MamaJoSpikeCart2.jpg (57318 bytes)ParadeMagRoadHogShorty.jpg (46071 bytes)along the route and Grandpa Dudley was the only Hobo to pass Road Hog.  Now, I should mention that this is no small feat, as Grandpa is almost 125 years older than Road Hog, according to Grandpa.


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MAD Mary, GrainCar George, Big Skip, NY Maggie, Connecticut Shorty, OEL, Mr. Bojangles, Lady SonShine, Lucky, Sir Rev Bob,
Stretch, Redbird Express, and Oak Tree Joe looked good too.  All the BOs made it safely back to camp on this very HOT day.

RedBirdFireCERE.jpg (55632 bytes)MamaSpikeFireCere.jpg (39797 bytes)Thursday evening started off with the Fire Lighting Ceremony by Redbird.  Mama JO and Spike saluted the Four Winds along with the rest of the Hoboes.  The featured show on the Frisco Park stage was the Little River Band.  This Australian band is nationally known and tours all year.  The locals were out early in the day to "stake out" a place for their lawn chairs near the  bandstand for this  free concert.  Many of the  Hoboes, including celebrity Hobo Drummer GrainCar George, attended the concert before adjourning to the Amory Cafe.  The Cafe served as the gathering place for the night as the Hobo musicians performed to a full house also.

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DrailKayBain.jpg (25984 bytes)TVbainHoboes.jpg (67550 bytes)Friday, April 16, 2004 started off early at 5 A.M. for many of the Hoboes with an appearance on WLOV TV 27 with Hostess, Kay Bain.  Dick Miller was featured and Steamtrain Maury was interviewed at length along with Queen Mama JO and Hobo King Spike.  Redbird also appeared on camera with Lady SonShine, Virginia Slim, and Lady Nightingale singing, while Ohio Tom was heard snoring off key in a nearby tent.

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AlabamaJoe.jpg (36751 bytes)During the day, I noticed a new face in camp and it turned out to be Alabama Joe from Auburn, AL.  Joe goes back a few years and first went out in 1948.  Joe was a friend of Alabama Hobo and Knotman, son of Alabama Hobo.  Red Light Kramer from Huntsville, AL showed up also.  Dick Miller manned the grill on Friday evening and the Hoboes were treated to a cookout in the jungle alongside the hobo fire.

Hobo dubbings were exacted upon Mayor Tom Griffith, Dick Miller, and the Amory Chief of Police.

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CollinKid.jpg (31839 bytes)JohnP2.jpg (43987 bytes)John Peterson, aka W2FMX, was dubbed "NY Slow Freight" for chauffeuring around NY Greenie, aka KA2FTU.  Collinwood Kid was dubbed "King of Dumpster Diving".  Les filled up three picnic tables with the food he "picked" up along the way to Amory.  Unanswered question: with all this food in the vehicle, how did Texas Madman still manage to fit in?


SLCboys.jpg (71678 bytes)Hobo SLC seemed to enjoy all of this food and served as a Volunteer Food Advisor to these four young Amory Lads.  SLC's lesson was, "How to eat a Ton of Food and still stay SLIM"!  These young guys are good students in Amory and probably will make their own way in the world in spite of Hobo SLC's camp fire schooling.



Saturday, April 17, 2004 and the festival was in full swing.  This small town of 7,000 had three times that mBojOELbills.jpg (32467 bytes)any people running around.  The flea market was full and the food court offered every kind of dish a person could want.  Each Church Group paid a festival fee of $400 to run their own booth.  After a number of years, thesBobbyBRut2.jpg (29767 bytes)e church volunteers have their cooking  methods down to a science and it's all good.  During the day, I ran into Mr. Bojangles and cousin OEL busking down by Bill's Hamburger Shop.  Bobby "Blues" Rutledge from Leland, MS was outside of the Cutlery Shop.  Looked like the boys were doing alright and picking up a few dollars.


DanSticks.jpg (27050 bytes)Over at the Hobo camp, Danville Dan was selling his homemade walking sticks and doing OK also.  Road Hog took time to tell about riding a caboose from Sioux City to Fort Dodge in Iowa with Conductor Red Johnson a number of years ago.  Conductor Red told Road Hog that only one other person ever rode in that caboose and that  was Iowa Blackie.  Small World.  Road Hog then decided to recuperate and relax from trying to keep up with Grandpa in the parade.  Speaking of Grandpa, he RoadHogsleep.jpg (61939 bytes) had been spreading it around camp that that he was going to "Climb the Wall" up at the street fair.  This is generally a kid's event and an event for "Manly Men" that want to show off for their Gal.  I guess Grandpa fits into that category somewhere.  At age 174, he still wants to show off for Mary!  Word of this event spreads and a number of hoboes are now at The Wall to watch Grandpa fall on his .... uhm .... head?  Well, he did fall on his .... You Know .... and then the operator cleared everyone else out of the area.  I guess the operator thought Grandpa might land on top of some poor soul.  Grandpa, after taking off his huge cowboy hat and picking himself up for the fourth time, did somewhat shimmy up that Wall!  Not entirely to the top, but he did make it a considerable distance, and received a deserving round of applause from the Hoboes and others.

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Afterward, Grandpa told me that he might build a practice wall in the back yard at home to practice for next year.  I asked MAD Mary if she had some form of Wall Idiot Insurance coverage, but she didn't think any company would cover him for such nonsense.

GrandPaOhioTom.jpg (64652 bytes)Did you know that in 1945 Grandpa was put into the ELECTRIC CHAIR in Lincoln, NE?  I guess the Governor let him off or the chair malfunctioned, but you can ask Grandpa about it sometime.  In case you are unaware, Grandpa does have a mean streak.  Grandpa is shown here attacking Ohio Tom with a crowbar after arguing over a candy bar.  


AaronMamaJOname.jpg (52374 bytes)CollinFood.jpg (37480 bytes)Saturday brought more visitors to the hobo camp and Mama JO was busy being Queen, but took time off to have her picture taken with Aaron from Amory.  Collinwood Kid was wandering through camp looking for a can opener.  Can the "King of Dumpster Diving" be allowed to keep his title and not have a can opener?



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Topping off Saturday was a ceremony to celebrate five wonderful wedded years for Rock Island Red and Doodlebug.  I must say that Doodlebug looked much the blushing bride and they made a picturesque couple.  Virginia Slim and Sunrise serenaded the Happy Couple on the main stage in Frisco Park.  The concert crowd gave a big hand to the couple and it was a very special night indeed.  The Amory Cafe again hosted the Hoboes for musical entertainment.

Saturday would be my last day in camp as I had to head back to St. Louis early on Sunday morning, so IBecDoc2.jpg (34780 bytes) wanted to spend some time with my daughter Rebecca before turning in for the  night.  I previously asked Train Doc to accompany Rebecca on her first ride as I figured that Amory was easy enough to catch out, and that Doc could provide the expertise for the first trip.  Becky had read most of the available tips about riding trains and she was between jobs at the moment, so I thought this was a wonderful opportunity to gain another life experience.  I spent the evening reviewing all the do's and don'ts with Becky and assured her that Train Doc had probably been on a train at least once before today.  NY NYgreenieBec.jpg (57060 bytes) Greenie gave her lessons  about tying uRoadHogBecSpike.jpg (63725 bytes)p her hair, while Road Hog USA and Hobo Spike explained  that no road was a bad road.  John-John and Lucky provided support and tips while GrainCar George called her a Sissy LaLa for worrying about everything.  Redbird also provided support while I kept packing the backpack for my daughter's first ride.  Becky had roughed camped many times throughout the last 10 years, so I really wasn't worried too much.  She didn't have all the right gear for an extended tour, but she had enough for a couple of rides.  I hit the sack in the RatPack Limo while Becky accompanied Stretch back to the campfire for more advice.

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Sunday, April 18, 2004 and I can't believe the week has rushed on past!  It's just daybreak and I kick Rebecca out with her sleeping bag and my backpack, tell her that Daddy loves her, tell her that she will probably live to see another day, and tell her to enjoy her life while she still has her youth, and that she's in good hands with Train Doc.  I tell her to eventually try to make it to Baldwin City as I plan on being there.  Otherwise, I tell her to get the GreyDog back to Florida if she falls off a train, Doc throws her off, or she otherwise can't make it to Baldwin City, KS.  Everyone is still asleep in the Hobo Camp, so I quietly head out of Amory, MS by myself at 6 A.M.

St Louis Frank              April 19, 2004
Amory, MS 2004 Hobo Gathering
Good Friends, Good Times, Good Memories

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