Keep on Walking…

I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I know it won’t be boring. 

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Image by Joyce Meyer / Topaz Edit

A pilgrim walks through the cooler air of a tunnel on a hot day along the Camino de Santiago. Impressionistic effect created using Topaz Studio.

The Sun Sets on the Alibi

March is coming to a close and with it the sun is setting on an  iconic establishment located in historic Gary, South Dakota. When Saturday,  March 31, 2018 comes to an end, Bruce and Diane Melby will turn the page of a forty-one year chapter of their lives.

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The Alibi was purchased from Jim and Karen Giesel in April of 1977 and since then Bruce and Diane Melby have dedicated their lives to providing a place for people from all walks of life to sit down, engage in lively conversation along with delicious food and beverages. For this we thank you.

It has been a landmark and meeting place for many purposes (Meet me at the Alibi!) and a safe, local hangout for young and old alike. For this we thank you.

Not only did they provide an establishment for food and drink but jobs for young people in the community, as well. These two are credited with teaching many youthful employees through the years how to deal positively with the public, work hard and still be able to laugh.  This influence has had a tremendous impact on young lives beyond  what a parent may be able to accomplish. For this we thank you.

While slaving away working incredibly long hours, they together raised five children who have grown into personable, hard-working, all-around awesome adults. I don’t know how they did it and I’m guessing they may look back and wonder the same. For this we thank you.

A loyal employee, Sarah Wynn, has been a key factor in the success of this business providing tremendous support with an amazing and diligent work ethic along with tremendous dedication to her job. For this we thank you.

The Alibi is a legend deserving of the Gary, South Dakota Wall of Fame.  I will always hear the thud of cowboy boots walking across the old wooden floor, clink of coffee cups, chatter of lively conversations along with occasional outbursts of laughter ringing in my ears. While the business may close its doors, these memories and everything they represents will live on in our hearts forever. For this we thank you.

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I leave you with this reaction from Bruce Melby when asked about retirement plans:

Looking for a business venture located in a charming historic community with great people? Opportunity awaits you in Gary, South Dakota!

 

 

 

 

Hobo, Tramp or Bum?

“A hobo wanders and works, a tramp wanders and dreams and a bum neither wanders nor works.”  -Anonymous.

hobo“Hobo at the Breakfast Table” by Randy Meyer

Randy recently picked up the paint brush, after a long hiatus, to capture a memory from his childhood:

It was a cold, snowy day in the early 1960s and this gentleman wandered up to the farmyard asking for work in exchange for food and lodging. He seemed somewhat prepared for the weather being dressed in a long, heavy, hooded coat that had seen better days along with big boots that were held together by wrappings of a sort.  Randy’s parents could not afford to hire extra help, but they generously invited the man into their house to eat breakfast. Imagine four little children peeking into the small  kitchen with wide eyes watching this disheveled older gentleman with a monstrous beard and tremendous appetite devour copious amounts of eggs, bacon, potatoes, toast and whatever else was available that morning. After satisfying his hunger, they wished him well as he made his way to the next farm site.

Who was this man… Hobo? Tramp? Bum?

Since the railroad was still running a train route to the towns of Gary, South Dakota and Marietta, Minnesota it is possible that he hitched a ride on the rail and walked farm to farm in search of food, board or money. This would define him as a hobo.

True hobos fully embraced a strong work ethic, bouncing from place to place, looking for short-term jobs to earn their keep, while bums and tramps wanted to bum everything—money, food, or cigarettes.

The very first American hobos were cast-offs from the American Civil War of the 1860s as young men rode the rails to find their fortunes, usually finding menial work or farm labor. The name hobo is believed to be a shortened form of “hoe boy.” The Great Depression and the Dust Bowl in the 1930s forced millions of Americans to become migrant laborers riding the rails in search of work.

My mother was born in 1920 and talked about hobos coming to her family’s farm when she was a child. Since threshing and haying were labor intensive processes there were opportunities to be had and her parents or grandparents would occasionally hire a hobo to help, allowing him to sleep in the barn. There were hobo markings along the railroad stop in nearby Smiths Mill, Minnesota that would communicate places in the area to work, sleep, etc. which led the hobos to their farm. These markings were a pictographic Hobo Code understood among the hobo community. Since hobos weren’t typically welcomed (and were often illiterate), messages were left that were easy for hobos to read but looked like random markings to everyone else which maintained an element of secrecy. hobo signs helphobo signs lawhobo signs trouble

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Whatever happened to the strange breakfast guest depicted in this painting? We’ll never know, but Randy can still see his crazy eyes.

HoboGlyphs:  Secret Transient Symbols & Modern Nomad Codes by Delana

Don’t Call Them Bums:  The Unsung History of America’s Hard-            Working Hoboes by Lisa Hix

 

Glass Blowing in Mexico

I find myself mesmerized by the process as each step is carefully, yet quickly, completed. Noticing the bare hands, I wonder how many burns occur during a typical work week. I know I would need a first aid kit within close proximity.

Living history…

Because of your smile you make life more beautiful.  ~Thich Nhat Hanh

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While dining at a restaurant near San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, this friendly gentleman (Pictured on the left in the photo) and his wife were seated at the table next to us.

Being naturally curious we ask, “Where are you from?”

Canada.”

Our Minnesota Nice reflex kicks in and we begin to chat, noticing their accents do not sound like your typical Canadian.

I can’t resist… “Have you always lived in Canada?” Thus, begins their interesting tale…

Following the Fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975, the family business was taken away by the Communists and father/son were both thrown in prison. His father spent seven years in prison… Wow.

Fortunately, his sister was able to flee in a boat eventually relocating in Canada. Years later, she sponsored  him, his wife and two daughters creating an opportunity for a new life in Canada. At age forty they found themselves starting over in a new country learning to understand its culture and language. As a welder and chef, they work extremely hard to make the best of their new lives, allowing them to not only survive, but also thrive. Infectious smiles along with a “glass half full” outlook on life touched our hearts. At age seventy they are still employed and have no desire to retire as long as health allows.

Growing up watching the Vietnam War on the nightly news sparked a fascination with this country and its culture. Being curious and reaching out makes history come alive and I walk away truly inspired.

A Pilgrim Rests

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Image by Joyce Meyer

Resting the body, mind and all things in between. Lightening the burdens carried may help, as well.

…washing the dust of daily life off our souls. ~ Picasso

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