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Friday, November 16, 2012

A memory

Between the ages of 22 and 24, I chose to live on the streets in Colorado. I had no car, no money. All I possessed was the will to experience life thru the eyes of others and an honest heart. I found enough work to keep myself healthy. At night I would go buy a few bottles of wine and visit the local rail yard. I would find the train "hobos," and give them wine in exchange for stories. There were frigid night of below zero wind with no place to hide from the cold. Bones would ache while the skin numbed to the blasts. There were days after days of freezing sleet that battered your coat/blanket until you were so wet that it didn't matter anymore, you were ready to succumb to the icy fingers of death that crept all over your body. The temptation to just lay down and sleep came often. At night we gathered around a "fire barrel," that the boys referred to as "Satan's Eye." They said the only warmth they could feel was from the temporary opened portal to Hell. They hated the reference, but they said that the fire in the barrel represented Satan watching and laughing at them as they struggled to make a living in the "land of the free." I met fellow named "Frostie" that had been riding trains across the country for the better part of 60 years. He froze to death in the winter of 1991. I was saddened that i ha lost such a dear soul to the Heavens, but his suffering was over. Over those 2 years, I could have bailed out and returned to society but I wanted to know the road. I wanted to feel it, breath it, taste it, live it. I did, and I am grateful.  Those "bums" and I worked and survived 2 brutal winters with less than nothing. I walked away a more caring man that knew more of the depths of life. I learned "humble."
There are hundreds of stories like this that occurred over that time span. I plan to start adding a story a day in my notes...

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