Our hobo coverage continues with a longread about the continuing hobo lifestyle, the National Hobo Convention and its lengthy history.
It’s an eclectic evening: Campfire songs, poems, recitations, a version of “Call Me Maybe” being played on the recorder, a comedy/banjo act (“What kind of ears do trains have? Engineers!!”). And everyone is there: The older, retired hoboes; the young tramps staying in the boxcar; a dude named Glen, a semi-hobo, who gets booted the next night for drinking too much and causing trouble; local Britt retirees; families with babies; the Hobo Convention staff in their bright orange T-shirts; Mayor Jim and his wife.
Minneapolis Jewel performs the official hobo-name ceremony, bestowing honors on two nuns who traveled to Britt seemingly just for the evening (one gets the name Cross Ties, which Jewel notes is “especially appropriate for a nun.”) An 18-year-old from Oklahoma who already has the hobo name Marshmallow Kid changes his handle to the simpler, more mysterious M.K.