Saturday, September 25, 2010

New Friends and Hobos...

No, our new friend is not a hobo but you'll see where I'm going

This post is going to be about my new friend, Joan, whom I met, along with other new friend Peggy in Phoenix, on the eHow writing site. Joan, Peggy and I have bonded in a strange internet relationship. We’ve all three spent many hours trying to figure out the algorithm eHow used to pay residuals on articles. Sadly, eHow has shut their imaginary doors, having been absorbed by their parent company, Demand Studios. What this boils down to is that we can’t add to our article library but, thankfully, the eHow Gods have decided that our libraries can remain in space and we still will earn residual income on all of the articles we’ve written.

So, with that nice lead in, here's a link to our profiles so that you can enjoy our musings:

Peggy is way ahead of the pack in monetizing her eHow writings as she now pays the majority of her bills from residuals. I’m ‘raking’ in around $150 a month which, considering I haven’t touched an article on eHow for 3 months, is quite an achievement. Joan is also doing pretty well from residuals on eHow and some other sites. So, I will be using this blog as a way to promote our writings. From here forward, you'll find at least one link which you can click on if you're interested. If not, just skip it!
Ok, I’ve digressed badly…

Anyway, Joan, Peggy and I met when we all frequented the eHow bulletin boards where we, hopefully, would gain more knowledge. Of all of the new acquaintances I’ve met on the computer, these two are the absolute best! Peggy lives outside Phoenix so sure would have been nice to have made the acquaintance while the folks still had a house there. Joan, though, is a scant 2 hours north of Mom and me in Pennsylvania. Both of these ladies check on Gert frequently which tickles Mom to no end.
Last Monday (which is a Monday in August by the time I write this post...), Joan decided to trek down South to Boyds and come meet us. Now, I thought this was a pretty gutsy move, having only ever corresponded on the internet with me. But, she’s as wonderful in person as in air. She walked in the door and immediately bonded with both Mom and me (and later John). She told me privately that she really wanted to meet me but it was Mom who fascinated her the most. I took that as a compliment. 

We spent a wonderful day in the kitchen, snacking, sipping wine for Joan and me, Harvey’s Bristol Cream for Mom. Joan was clearly fascinated by this 93 year old creature who sat between us like we were talking to another friend. Mom was so ‘ON’ it was amazing. I was so thankful that Joan coaxed a few stories from Mom and the below is my favorite (note to readers: here comes the hobo part):

When Mom was growing up in St. Joe, MO, the depression hit. She was only a bit over 12 when times fell really hard on most people. Unemployment ran rampant which was disasterous for people already living below poverty level. Most people had little to share and were, in fact, on the other side of the fence looking for handouts. 

Hobos used to frequent the area as there was (is?) a train that runs through the southside of St. Joe. And,  St. Joe, being right on the rail line had it’s share of hobos. Men and women looking for work, clothes, shelter or food.

As Mom tells the story, there would frequently be a knock on Bubie and Zadie’s door (that’s my grandparents) and, standing there would be a hobo asking for a cup of coffee. He or she was never denied. Not once. In fact, there was a hobo code that the hobos would put on the sidewalk in front of a house or on a fence – anywhere it was visible. The codes were symbols that might mean ‘Nice woman here’ or ‘Nice man here’ or ‘dog barks’, ‘Judge lives here,’ etc. Mom’s house always had an ‘X’ marking the spot – literally. The code of an ‘X’ meant that a traveler could get a meal and, sometimes, a shower and a place to stay.

Mom learned well from her parents as there has never been a time that she didn’t offer a visitor, expected or unexpected, a plate of noches. Sometimes, it was parts of dinner left over (sliced brisket, yum), sometimes it was what she could find in a packed refrigerator. I’ve tried to continue the tradition but frequently have to look to Mom to ask what we have in the house. She still knows.
Gert continues to amaze me, on a daily basis. Her humor is evident frequently but appears, at least to me, to be getting even more ribald. Perhaps this is because Bobbi, John and I bring it out in her. A lot of people would be offended by some of the stuff she comes up with but Bobbi, John and I just lean in closer so we don’t miss any of the jokes. She is a wonderful part of my life.

I know that my Mom is very concerned that she’s a burden in my life but what I can’t seem to get through her head is that the exact opposite is the case - she is my blessing. I continue to learn life’s lessons, particular, I hope, how to age with grace, with humor, and with love. She’s taught me how to deal with what life throws at me, sometimes by dodging, sometimes by calmly walking away, and sometimes barreling back in a head on fashion. 

My mom teaches by example. She’s shown me how to adapt to situations you might find yourself in. Such as the fact that she, being a past non-dog person, is now surrounded by 6 dogs and a cat. She loves those dogs, each and every one – of course, some more than others. She never complains about the dog hair when she climbs out of the truck, instead, she calmly brushes off what she can. She doesn’t complain when there’s no room in her chair for her as Matee and Gizmo have taken over. She just calmly shoos them away so she can settle in. She then taps her lap and, like magic, she’s coated in dog again. And she always laughs and delights in this daily ritual. It always seems to take her by surprise that she’s a favorite of the dogs. But, dogs read people and these dogs know that this is a great person. She’s a wonderful soul who is a delightful addition to my life.

Sure, there are some times when it becomes difficult to be her ‘husband’ as I think that’s what I am. Reflecting back, this makes sense. She spent 65.5 years with Dad by her side. They completed each other sentences. And, now, I do the same for her when words escape her. He filled in the parts of her stories where she faultered and that’s my job now. And, don’t get me wrong – this is a two sided bridge. She’ll still correct facts that I spew out, she still can shoot me a dirty look that quietly (or not) says ‘back off. I’m your mother.’ And, I love those times. She’s dependant upon me but yet, she’s always my mother. And, I hope I can somehow let her know that I treasure that.


  1. I want to sit around and hear Gert stories too! Great post, Lori!

  2. I told you to come east! There's planes that come out here, you know. Would love a Peggy visit.


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