“Not all those who wander are lost.” J. R. R. Tolkien
Who is Hobo Joe?
Hobo Joe is a fictional series that will be appearing periodically on Tripoart.com
Joe is a young guy who recently got kicked out of his family’s house because his terribly chosen friends stole and destroyed many of his dad’s favorite irreplaceable possessions during one of the most insane parties of Joe’s young life. Now he has to learn to live and survive on his own. He’s smart and resourceful but also likes to live life like a wild man. Where will Joe’s journey take him next?!
This series is based on survival, partying and the interesting and whacked out characters encountered during Joe’s travels. It is filled with adult themes, therefore it may contain vulgarity, drug/alcohol use, and sexual scenarios, please don’t continue to read if you are easily offended by this type of content.
This is Part Three of Hobo Joe:
Welcome to Amish Country *
Sheneis took out a variety of foods from the fridge and cupboards, placing everything on the plastic countertop and started to have fun cooking with her new stove.
The smell of something amazing from the kitchen filled my nostrils, alerting my senses and caused me to rise up off the sofa. She gave me a delicious breakfast – fried eggs, bacon, sausage, coffee, and toast. It was a feast fit for a worthy Hobo. I ate everything on my plate and she looked at me with warm sparkling satisfied eyes. We ate and talked and enjoyed each other’s soft romantic touches underneath the kitchen table.
Despite this unexpected romance, I decided to leave. Freddy was already gone and after breakfast, I left too.
We had a good time together. She showed me her inner beauty and I couldn’t have asked for more. I felt refreshed and renewed and ready to continue my adventures. I told her I would stay in touch but I didn’t even have my e-mail set up properly or own a cell phone. I wrote her number down in my little black notebook and we parted ways.
“Bye bye Joe, come back again sometime, you’re always welcome!” she said. Kissing me farewell with the biggest kiss of my life while hugging and lifting me right off the steps of the front porch and high into the air.
“Thanks for everything Sheneis, you’re the sweetest and your food is amazing! I’ll be back one day, I promise and we’ll enjoy some more sweet loving!” I said. I was kind of sad, but this is how it goes for a Hobo; you don’t want to overstay your welcome. Besides, there’s a whole wide world right out that door waiting to be explored and corrupted by yours truly.
I had a full stomach, was well rested and after meeting Sheneis and Freddy I felt like anything was possible. The world had become my immense playground and there are no rules except to live each day like a Pirate or a Viking. Always searching for a new source of booty, a new source of inspiration, nourishment, riches, and adventure. I will wander to the end of the earth until I finish my grand Quest and then I will rest my tired Hobo bones upon the soft bed of my choosing.
I confidently walked towards the highway. The hot summer wind swept against my body and the birds were chirping away overhead. I’ve only been away from home for two nights and I already feel more independent and mature. This new chapter isn’t so bad. Although I wish Freddy would come by again and pick me up so we could rap some more. I still need to perfect my rhymes and flow.
I was almost at the entrance to the great highway going South, getting ready to stick out my thumb and hitchhike, when I saw a dilapidated sign hanging above a trail amidst a dense forest. It said it was heading South, so I took the path and started walking instead of hitchhiking.
I hiked along up low hills and past minor cliffs, through muddy paths and across long meadows. I saw badgers, beavers, bluebirds, brown bears, buzzards, bullfrogs, beetles, butterflies, and bees. I even saw some bizarre-looking bats! I didn’t realize there were so many animals in this part of the country that started with the letter b!
Eventually, after several hours of long strenuous hiking, I reached a break in the trail and came upon a large community. Everyone was dressed in old-fashioned clothing. The men had big beards with shaved mustaches and the women wore long brown or beige dresses with tightly-bound bonnets on their pretty little heads. They all had light blond hair and I thought I might have passed through some kind of time portal on the trail, it was crazy. It felt like old rural Europe or the Middle Ages or someplace similar.
“Hello there young lad,” said an old bearded man with a smooth monotone voice, who was slowly walking towards me carrying a wooden shovel. His beard was so thick and white and long that it looked like a withered old mop head and if he were fifty percent shorter I would have easily mistaken him for one of the dwarves from The Hobbit.
“Hello,” I said, “What is this place?”
“This is Amish country my boy, are you looking for the trail?”
“Yes. I´ve been hiking all day and the trail ended and now I’m here.”
“Ok well you have to continue a bit further, past those barn houses, there the trail continues.”
He said while pointing his long crooked finger at some big wooden houses that had several men working on top with hand tools; saws, hammers, and chisels. They all seemed to be wearing the same type of dully colored clothing and had big beards and suspenders holding up there well-worn trousers.
“Alright thanks, see you around old man,” I said and I started walking towards the barns.
“Wait, wait, wait just a minute there boy,” he said, looking like he was deep in thought, with his bushy white eyebrows rising and falling awkwardly across his old weathered Amish face.
“You look like a strong young English lad. If you want you can help us with some work that has to be done, we’ll feed you and give you a place to sleep if you do a good job. You see we’re planting trees this time of the season and we need to dig around ten-thousand holes. This is a very important job and we don´t have much help at the moment. Each hole has to be two and a half feet deep and at least one-foot diameter. Most of our brethren have been busy on the dairy farm and in the woodworking shops lately, we have been selling lots of cheese and furniture to the townsfolk, so we could really use some extra workers these days. Do you want to help us with that?” He spoke so slowly that time seemed to momentarily stop while he explained the project to me.
“Sure, I don’t have anything else to do. I’m just hiking across the planet and I could use a break, but are there any rules I need to know before we start?” I asked cause they seemed quite disciplined and religious.
“Yes, of course, my boy, without rules and the commandments we cannot control our inner urges and our lives have no direction at all, leading us to dark paths filled with much shame and suffering. The rules are as follows: you can look but you cannot touch the Amish girls. You have to join us for Bible study and you have to work hard every day. We wake up at Four AM, and we expect everyone to work a full day. We don´t want any lazy folk around here. Are you okay with that my boy?” The words seemed to leave his mouth in such a slow and boring way that he reminded me of the school teacher from the Charlie Brown cartoon show.
These rules really freaking suck, I thought to myself, but I was willing to make a sacrifice and help these people out. They seemed like nice decent folk, and it would probably be a good cultural experience for me.
“Sure, I´ll do it. I have plenty of discipline, don’t worry old man. What´s your name by the way?!”
“I am Gudilf my boy. Our ancestors have been here for more than three-hundred years living a quiet, simple and peaceful lifestyle amidst the great fields and prairies of Amish country which spans across several counties and states, from the US to Canada and beyond. We cherish our culture and traditions and we study the Word of God as good honest Christians. Each day is a chance to honor Him and do our righteous duties,” and on and on and on he went talking about the history of the village and their beliefs. He almost made me fall asleep as we were walking towards the fields, but he was a nice and harmless man. I wish my dad was as mellow as he was.
I followed the old bearded Amish farmer towards some wide-open fields. Everyone in the community saw me. I felt like an alien again in a foreign land, but their smiles were warm and true.
I put down my backpack, grabbed a shovel and started digging with my new friends. Each hole had to be located in a perfectly measured row. They told me that this was going to be a field of fruit trees. I dug the holes and Gudilf helped me and made sure I didn’t screw anything up. There were about twenty of us out there digging. The people liked to work in teams. They were well-organized and even said prayers and sang Bible songs as they dug the holes. They are a tight-knit community that live and work harmoniously together. With each member focusing diligently on their own particular task.
Being with them was quite nice and completely different from anything I was used to. Where I´m from, it’s every man for himself. It´s a real dog-eat-dog world. Where the apex predators always win and the deer and other fresh game get the flesh eaten off of their bones while their heart still beats in their chests, figuratively speaking.
After we dug holes for a couple of hours till nightfall, I was taken to an old wooden house by one of the cute little blond boys who was named Pete Stevens. He was only ten years old and he seemed to know every corner of the community; that was impressive. He took me up the creaking wooden stairs and showed me my new bedroom. The room was filled with Amish style furniture and decorations: a double sized bed with finely turned legs, a big dresser cabinet with trinkets on it, a few sturdy wooden chairs, and some framed embroidery pictures (depicting typical Amish landscapes) hung on the warped white walls.
“Thanks Pete, see you for supper in a minute!” I said to the perfectly behaved boy as he ran back down the steps. I laid down my grubby backpack beside my new bed, washed up in the bathroom and got ready to eat.
The women folk were all downstairs in the kitchen, busy with the final preparations of the nights’ dinner. I smelled the pleasing aroma of the food as it traveled up the stairs, causing me to have severe Hobo cravings.
Everyone was present at dinner time. The head of the household was Mr. Johnathan Mathews. He was a tall skinny spectacle-wearing bearded man with a lovely young blond wife and eight well-behaved children. He was Gudilf´s son. I engaged in small talk with Mr. Johnathan and his wife. They were simple and kind and nice enough to laugh at all of my goofy jokes.
When we all finally sat at the big wooden dinner table my appetite was absolutely voracious. I was amazed and so happy to see the abundance and variety of food that they offered me. There was freshly baked bread, meatloaf, corn on the cob, baked potatoes with homemade butter, vegetables and some kind of grog that they drank that smelt awful but tasted pretty damn good. There were even different types of scrumptious pies to enjoy for dessert after we feasted on the main meal!
I noticed that some of the daughters were quite beautiful but I wasn’t allowed to speak with them. I couldn´t stop myself from checking them out and I think the Amish brothers saw me staring at their mesmerizing beauty.
I never realized that a woman could be so attractive despite the fact that her body is covered from head-to-toe with clothing that looks like something you would normally use to cover the windows in your living room. Their inner beauty shined through the long flowing fabrics and their happiness, laughter, and timid playfulness struck me with wonder and curiosity.
The boys poked me in the shoulder and kept reminding me, “Don’t tempt yourself brother. Don’t let the devil pervert your thoughts Joseph. Can I call you by your Biblical name? Satan wants you to lose the battle but we will help you to win and persevere.”
“All right, all right, don’t worry about me, I won’t let the devil get me this time,” I said and deep inside I wanted to bed them all but I didn’t of course. I respected their traditions and values.
After talking about the Lord for a while everyone gathered around the table and started to sing and play different musical instruments; harmonicas and guitars. They had pretty good rhythm and played songs that were passed down from their European ancestors many centuries ago.
I was tired and couldn’t take any more Bible stuff, so I excused myself, “Thank you so much for dinner and the Bible lessons, I´m going to bed, see you all tomorrow!”
“Goodnight Joseph, God bless you,” said the entire family in unison.
It seemed like they all carried Bibles in their back pockets and I carried a bag of psychoactive herbal mind-enhancers, to each his own I guess. They had their method of achieving spirituality and I had mine, but I didn’t share my stash with these holy men. Instead, after everyone was sound asleep, I crawled up to the attic above my bedroom and had a little smoke.
I never would have imagined that I would be staying with this unique group of hard-working and self-sufficient people. They didn´t use modern technology and they lived in harmony with nature. It was such an amazing trip and I was thankful for them opening their home to me and feeding me so well. I finished my smoke, climbed into bed, and went to sleep; comfortable between the soft Amish sheets, content with the new friends I met and my hard day’s labor.
Day Four to Day Fifteen
I got up with the rest of the brethren at 4 AM, had breakfast, and started digging into the earth right before the sun began to shine its first rays of light above the horizon. We had a full day of work ahead of us.
I watched as everyone toiled together. They worked the land continuously and happily with laughing smiles like playful children during recess time. Each hole dug, brought them closer to their goals and I could see their hearts growing warmer towards me as they saw me digging with extra strength and vigor.
As the dirt and sweat accumulated on our brows and the strong rays of the sun’s heat washed up against our active bodies we dug and dug and dug and with each new hole, our future orchid started to take shape before our very eyes.
When the day´s work was over and after we had another delicious home-cooked dinner, Mr. Johnathan and his wife presented me with some Amish clothing: pants, shoes and a plaid shirt. It was a wonderful gift. They told me the clothes were handmade, strong, durable, and perfect for working or traveling. Then they sat me down in the middle of the living room and gave me a haircut. I was really starting to look like one of them!
I stayed for more than a week, digging holes and doing other menial jobs, like washing and grooming the horses, organizing bales of hay, and shucking corn husks. We broke bread together and every time we talked, I learned something fascinating and new about their unique way of life amidst the beautiful and peaceful Ohio countryside.
But alas, all good things must come to an end. We finished our project and I was ready to begin my travels once again. I knew I could always come back and was grateful that I stumbled upon their flourishing settlement.
Old farmer Gudilf offered me a ride to town in his horse-drawn buggy but I declined his generous offer and walked towards the trail. I felt like I was leaving a caring family that I never had. They were so peaceful and united. I almost wanted to stay and join in their traditions; living close to the land and working hard every day. But you all know that I am not ready for a sedentary existence. No, my heart yearns for something else.
It was a dark and gloomy morning as Gudilf and I came upon the opening of the damp and muddy trail. Rotten leaves and tangled weeds covered its entrance. It did not seem welcoming at all but my free and adventurous spirit would not be easily discouraged. My backpack was full of hearty Amish sandwiches. My body was physically ready and strong. I hugged old farmer Gudilf, shedding a few Hobo tears on his beard, and turned around walking towards the woods…
“Wait, wait, wait just a minute!” I turned, wiping the tears from my blurred eyes and saw that Gudilf looked just as emotional as I.
“Joseph, Hummmm. I´ve been watching you the past few weeks and I´ll tell you the truth. At first, I thought you were just a regular English punk, but I was wrong. You’re a hard worker and you have a big heart. You´re special my boy. I know that God has something in store for you. Something Big. I´m not sure what it is but you´ll know when the time comes. May the Lord bless your travels where ever you may be.” After he said that I cried even more and we embraced again for the last time…
Then I stepped into the woods ready for my next adventure, curious to see what the future has in store for Hobo Joe.
*This part of Hobo Joe is loosely based on the Amish and Mennonite communities of Ohio. It is not one hundred percent accurate to their culture. It is fictional and at times exaggerated. Each community has their own specific beliefs and way of living.
Thanks for reading Part Three of Hobo Joe, Click Here to read Part Four!