Saturday, January 21, 2006

Hobo-ing America

Hobo-ing America
by Richard E. Noble

What is the big deal about seeing the U.S.A. anyway? Ten million Americans go off to see the U.S. every day. How many trite descriptions of the Grand Canyon does one need in his library?

Well, to put it mildly, I think that seeing America clinging to the elbow of Carol and Dick, will be an awakening for most Americans no matter how many times they have toured the U.S.A.

If you toured America by way of Ramada Inns across the country, you would undoubtedly consider the U. S. to be a country full of well dressed salesmen. If you went by way of McDonald’s franchises you would, more than likely, consider acne to be a major medical epidemic in the States. If you drove one of those big trucks, America will be an interstate highway, gas stations, bathrooms, and a never ending chain of sleepy eyes, cigarettes, blue jeans, giant belt buckles, and little girls knocking on your sleeper window saying ... Can you spare fifty dollars for a cup of coffee, Sir?

If you toured with Charles Kuralt, a fine adventure indeed, you will nevertheless see America as a country full of semi-retired, middle-aged folks or better, all of whom can knit, sew, weave on a hand loom, whittle a Louisville Slugger from an old scrub oak tree, or construct a Stradivarius in their barn using nothing but popsicle sticks and a rusty, old, double-edged razor blade.

Come along with Carol and Dick and live in the places where Charles Kuralt was afraid to park his bus ... even for an overnight stay.

Meet, and tour the homes of the ninety-eight percent of America that will not be televised on the lives of the rich and famous.

Come with us and grovel in the dust, dirt, and sweat ... feel the pain, joy, and anger and shake the calloused hands that make America what it is. We’ll tip it all upside-down and see America bottom side up.

Stay with us in the fields, groves, orchards, under equipment shelters and county bridges.

Meet the homeless, the helpless, the bent over, the rich, the poor and the ugly.

See America in its glory and its shame.

See it from the highways, the sidewalks, and the gutters.

Meet Asians, Indians, Jamaicans, Haitians, Mexicans.

Meet most of them in one chicken factory in central Arkansas on the third shift.

Find out the answer to the question that has plagued most of America for three decades ... Why don’t tomatoes taste like they did when I was a kid? ... At the same time, find out why you can jump up and down on the top of a bag of peaches and barely bruise the skin. Find out why you can hardly tell the difference between an apple and a banana if you eat them both with your eyes closed. Learn the author’s, not yet famous and soon to be forgotten, apple theory of value. Find out why it makes no difference whether you eat a tree ripened sweet cherry, or a chocolate bar. Find out why you should eat up the box and throw the corn flakes away.

Find the answer to all of these burning questions and many, many more.

See America from the bottom of the cracker-barrel. Come along with Carol and Dick. Talk to the “Crackers” and fill the barrels. See our America.

I don’t know if following Dick and Carol up the furrows, and down the assembly lines of this land will change your lives as it has changed ours, but I can guarantee that you will see America as you have never seen it before.

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