Letter Re: Consider Volunteering at a Homeless Shelter

I read Doc’s article about volunteering in a homeless shelter and meeting some of the occupants. That brought back memories of when I was in my early teens. My Dad worked for the railroad and we lived near the railroad yards and I met a number of hobos in the woods behind our house. Most of them knew my Dad and had a lot of respect for him. He would sometimes give them spare change and cigarettes. The hobo’s slept in small dugout caves in the woods and would never steal from us. But they would steal chickens from a couple of our neighbors. I never ever saw a hobo carrying what he had in a bandana on the end of a stick like you see in pictures. What most of them had was either a small suitcase or an old surplus WWII army [back]pack. My friends and I would be playing or riding our bikes in the woods and run into the hobo’s eating or just hanging around. I was amazed on how they could start fires, cook, a lot of them always carried fishing tackle made up of hooks, sinkers, and line, used frog gigs with branches, set traps using snares. I used to hang around with these guys just to watch them. In turn I would sneak out some cans of beans, corn,etc to help them out. Not one time was I ever scared or harmed in any way. Again, most of them knew my Dad and left me alone. At the time I was in the Boy Scouts and learned from the hobo’s and when my Scout troop would go camping I would use my skills I learned from the hobo’s. This would amaze my scoutmaster and some of my fellow scouts. So I can understand Doc learning from the homeless that stay in the shelter he works at. – Randy in Asheville, NC