Contributed by Jim Sumner and produced by Susan Stafford.

Tales from the Smokey Hills:

'Brownie, a Hobo' by Jim Sumner [with blue-striped coffee cup and a spoon resting on the saucer]

During the depression a whole society of people called hobo's was created. These guys believed in doing some kind of labor for their keep. My father was approached by one of them, a man called Brownie, to work in our restaurant.

     Dad gave him a job. Brownie took hold immediately and stayed with us probably for 10 years. I really like the guy. He treated me like a person and he seemed to care what became of me. He was a good fry cook and handled the front end well.

     We moved to Abilene and Brownie went with us. We hired a lady named Mae. She and Brownie decided they would marry, go to Arkansas and raise chickens. We received a few photos and letters for awhile but eventually we lost track of them.

     Just a little saga from the hobo world. Parenthetically, Brownie's friend was no good. He left town early, never to be heard of again. Good riddance. This all happened in Enterprise Ks during the years of 1935 thru 1945.

     Another hobo story was about a man nicknamed Sweet Pea. He was a short shriveled-up little guy. Sweet Pea lived in a cave on the banks of the Smokey Hill River. Occasionally Sweet Pea drifted up from the river to grace the town with his river wisdom. He had a raspy high pitched voice and would stand among some of the townsmen shrieking his story, smoking his roll-your-own, cursing the current condition, then would trudge off to the river, climb into his boat and row away. As far as I know Sweet Pea stayed on the river. I never followed him to see his digs. There is an interesting story about an incident of his life in the cave and the rat, but that will have to wait until next time.

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