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Pennsburg, Pennsylvania -
12th & Last! Pennsburg Hobo Gathering
Redbird 2003 Hobo King and 12 year King of the Pennsburg Jungle steps
down. Redbird mentioned his habit of doing things in 12 year increments
during his final announcements at the evening ceremony. Even though most
people were already aware that this would be the last year, it was certainly a
sad moment in the camp.
Many thanks to the Pennsburg Area Resident that stopped
to pick up this hitchhiker by this sign. You were kind enough to drop me
in town and wouldn't accept any payment.
I attended this year for the first time as I didn't want to miss out on the
Pennsburg experience and I wanted to meet some of the East Coast people such as
Little Hobo-Tim from Altoona. In addition to the current 12 year Hobo
tenure, this particular jungle has a storied past dating back to the 1900's.
Isabel did her best to disrupt the area, however no real damage was
inflicted on the Pennsburg camp. Some wind and showers did postpone
Thursday's ceremonies and the threat of Isabel remained a concern.
All other events took place as scheduled with a minimum of delay and everyone
weathered the storm with the exception of some baby squirrels. General Lee
and I were startled by a loud "PLOP" near the t-shirt rack. Upon
investigation, two baby squirrels had dropped about 40 feet from their
nest. One little guy was trying to climb up the rack while the other baby
appeared to be injured. Several of the BO's came to help and the littlest
squirrel really seemed to be attracted to Virginia Slim!
After numerous unsuccessful attempts
by Keystone Bob to send the guys back up the tree, Lady
Son Shine came to the rescue and provided a make-shift nursery in Boxcar
#2. Since this invasion was not a serious threat to the camp, the Texas
Madman did not have to be pressed into service for "Critter" control.
Baseball playoffs were in full swing and I'll mention that Train Doc held the
upper hand for most of the week with the Dice Baseball Game. That is until
Captain Cloud snapped Doc's winning streak. And then,1st Class Frank of
St Louis, seized the opportunity against a fatigued Train Doc to put him down by
the score of 8 to 1 and register a two hitter. He appears to be smiling in
this picture, but he's really gritting his teeth. A re-match is being
negotiated for Amory, MS in April 2004.
Side Door Pullman Kid named these guys-"The Step
2 1/2 Centuries of combined experience in this group!
Perkiomen School (1875) sponsored a Hobo Lunch that was well attended.
This gave Norm and Gloria a welcomed break for one meal. Is that Gloria
ONE of the hardest working people in Pennsburg, or what? She was in
constant motion morn til night behind that kitchen counter. A job well
Farmer Steve brought good luck to all at lunch with this Clover handout.
For those rubber tramps, check with Fritz on his engine compartment cooking
process. Fritz demonstrates how easy it is to load up a 16 oz can in the
cooking basket. 42 miles later - presto - piping HOT Hobo Stew!
Quiet Mike informed me that the Perkiomen Library was the last Carnegie
Library to be built in 1913 and the only one built at a private school. I
did take time to use the library and meet some of the school students. I
was impressed by the beautiful buildings and the students were unfailingly
polite and well mannered. This is to be expected as Quiet Mike has set a
fine example at Perkiomen for over 20 years. Mr. George Allison,
Headmaster and Perkiomen School are certainly a big plus for Pennsburg, Students
and Hobos alike.
Musicians were in abundance Friday and Saturday evenings with several planned
performances and also a number of impromptu sessions that earned steady applause
from the large crowd. Graincar George received a large round of applause
Saturday night for his possessed and "over the top" drum solo.
Saturday was well attended by Pennsburg area people and the grounds were
full. A food stand and an ice cream truck were in operation in addition to
the Hobo sales booth. Several of the musicians had their music tapes for
Several of the Hobos found their way to the celebrated and venerable
Pennsburg Hotel on Friday and Saturday night. It was duly noted that the
Hotel walls contained numerous Hobo signatures with the most prominent being -
"Dante Fuchwa-1999." While the Jungle was DRY, the Hotel bar
proved to be WET. A contest ensued to determine, by majority vote, which
flavored schnapps would be declared HOBO BEST-2003. Unfortunately, the
Hotel stocked three shelves of schnapps and I can't remember the winner.
Maybe butterscotch? I do remember receiving a disapproving look and snarl
from Burlington as we lugged by his boxcar on the way back in the wee wee hours.
Ham Radio in the Hobo Jungle
Hobo Ham-Tanner City Kid-KB1HKQ had a chance encounter in 2002 with a Pennsburg
area Ham-Reg-N3KAS of Pottstown, PA. Because of this conversation, Reg went to work to
obtain the necessary government approvals to set up the 2003 Special Event Ham
Radio Station - W3H. It seems that the Hobo wanderlust of the rails and
roads carries over to the airways. The special event station W3H made 130 contacts
in 29 different States and 3 Canadian Provinces
during the 6
hours of operation on Saturday. The effort of the Pottstown, PA Ham Club
members was greatly appreciated by the Hobo Hams and Reg was dubbed Ramblin' Reg
by Hobo King Spike and Hobo Queen MAMA JO at a special Saturday Evening Ceremony
for his hard work.
While in the area, I wanted to visit Philly and
John from Waterville, NY and NY Greenie were kind enough to drop me off in Quakertown at the Greyhound
stop and I made my way into Philadelphia for a Sunday visit. I had a nice
time and strolled around to City Hall, the Salvation Army (note the bars on the
windows), a few dives, a
trolley, and visited with the locals.
2003 Pennsburg - good times - good friends - good memories.
Best Wishes to all
1st Class-Frank-St Louis
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