Forrest Gets Mail – 14

I love emails like this one from Diane. Makes me wish I could go back to the starting place and experience all of the things I might have done, but didn’t.

I have a technicolor picture of me running through the brambles with Diane.

It is comforting that the treasures chest thread has brought so many of us together in a kindred way. I feel like I know that girl who played with hobos. f


My grandfather was a train engineer.  He used to do a big train whistle out of town so my grandmother could hear to let him know he was on the way, and she’d tell me to take off running. I would run like the dickens through the bramble, and meet his train on the edge of Lewistown, Mt., and he would stop it to a complete halt, then let me on, and I got to drive the train all the way through Lewistown, Mt., then I would hop off, with the train building steam and run back to grandma’s house.  Never fell once.  I remember the train would slow down slow, then come to a complete halt like how I think warm waters halt.

One of my favorite things to do is go in to town and have lunch with the “young hobos” who hop the trains out of Colorado Springs.  My Sunday hobo church.  They grab food from people coming out of the cafes and eat it up like morsels form heaven.  Took me only a day to adjust to their routine.  They are brilliant poets, just like Forrest.  A few are banjo players, and they are peaceful, but not for the meek.  They are totally free to ride the rails to the next adventure, and I live vicariously through them, as I also love the rails.
I’m new to the chase, and am having fun studying my stacks of maps, and the poem, and I giggle a lot when I wonder- “What would Bubba do?”



73 thoughts on “Forrest Gets Mail – 14

  1. Diana

    You may be on the right track (pun intended)!
    In TTOTC FF writes about trains and hobos and brown bag lunches. I have ridden the old steam trains out of Durango CO and Chama NM and I highly recommend them both to everyone! Great experiences and some of the most scenic rides in America.
    I think the chest is hidden somewhere in or near a “Bramble”, or maybe even a brake or thicket! Happy Hunting.

  2. One time I was hitch-hiking across the US, headed west and wanted to go see Old Faithful….long about the good state of Wyoming I learned that hitching was not very legal….so early one Sunday morning I walked up to a man sitting on the back of cabus and told him my plight…he said I could ride in the cabus a little ways but then I’d have to get out and finish the ride in a box car as his shift would be changing….it was great fun sitting up there in the captain’s chair of a cabus, the tracks went way out into the open away from towns and freeways. I remember seeing huge herds of antelope. The ride ended up out side of Cody and by then hitching was mellow and I made it into Yellowstone in time to see Old Faithful, after that I just kept on hitching out of there….maybe I’ll go back again some day. True story cr 1978.

  3. Interesting, Cholly. It used to be a great way to see the world.

    I once hitched all the way from the Catskill Mountains down to Macon, GA, and then on to Little Rock, AR. Met some wonderful people – and some scary ones. Got chased out of a Tennessee town by some local youths on a Saturday night bender, while in a car with no brakes; spent the night camping on the side of the road with large animals sniffing all around the tent; and had to teach someone how to use a payphone after a freeway driver decided to ram a semi, and ended up with a V8 in his lap. That was the mid 80s; I don’t think I’d try it now!

  4. I especially like the Technicolor picture of Forrest and Diane. Your legs are kind of skinny in that picture Forrest…
    thanks for sharing…

  5. ..once upon a time, i travelled through the USA in a van with an Australian mate (from Bunbury, WA) in search of adventure, and accidentally struck upon Las Vegas when it was experiencing a big dealers strike, for some unknown reason that didn’t interest us at all, in the mid 90’s sometime

    we unwittingly entered Caesars Palace whilst wandering, which was 95% empty at that time – and i mean ‘chairs on tables and most lights off, empty’!

    i actually thought this was sorta normal somehow, given my massive naivety of youth.

    so we immediately grabbed a cold beer and went exploring the depths of this profoundly quiet palace, only to find an outdoor spa-pool with lions-head water spouts and small palm trees, that added to the whole atmosphere – sorta like the Roman bath-houses of old, we suspected

    after stripping down to our undies for a much appreciated free jacuzzi with a thirst-quencing beer, we were shortly thereafter approached by a very large security guard, with an even larger smile, who took great humour in informing us that our (much appreciated) jacuzzi was in-fact an ornamental pool for aesthetic purposes only


    • Will ! Is that the first three chapters of your new book? Couldn’t help it …sounds like a great novel.

      • well one was responsible the most, but she is gone now. Breast cancer took her away about 11 years ago. It’s a shame, because I would’ve really liked to have her around to see this come to an end. Some things we cannot control though. 🙁

  6. Makes me wish I could go back to the starting place and experience all of the things I might have done, but didn’t. Where or when?

    • Hi Oz, IMHO this confirms that the “starting place” is a childhood location. Likely one of those spots that leaves an adult with a deep, warm and happy feelings…sensations that could never be duplicated…yet there was no “logical” reason to share it with others. So, it remained “his secret.”

      As for the “where” it is more and more obvious. I really want to go trout fishing with a wise, experienced guide who would be great company!

    • Oz10,
      Maybe where and when are of the same…
      This reminds me of the comment; he could have wrote the poem before he hid the chest, but he didn’t. When could he have written the poem?

      It also reminds me of very subtle hints in the book. The family road trip of 1600 miles. In this thought, and related to the poem, the when and where is of the past [ younger years and doing it differently ] in theory, the poem works its way north to south, and ‘why is it I must go…’ brings it south to north… knowing the place for the first time line of thinking… full circle… mirror image… new and old [ past and present ]. imaging his 13 year old self… “if any reader over the age of 12 doesn’t see a little of themselves in the mirror, then maybe they deserve another turn”

      Could; ‘If you are brave;[ taking on a challenge ] and in the wood;[ mountain passage{RM’s}]… be the trail of that travel?
      If possible, then maybe we need to locate where to start by having both, the north to south and south to north travel, meet. ~ The big picture?

  7. I remember watching Lassie as a child…one of the episodes was about a hobo that showed up and caused a stir for some reason. I was somehow intrigued by this crafty individual that just went where ever he wanted. Some time later something made me mad and I told my mom I was running away and hopping on a train to get away…She made me two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and packed them in a bag with a clean pair of underwear and socks and gave me a kiss on the cheek. I couldn’t believe my fortune as I ran down our road… I hid in the woods and ate my sandwiches. When it was almost dark I went home and told them I missed the train. Spaghetti and meatballs that night for dinner….

    • so.. when you returned home, are you sure your parents weren’t frantically packing all their worldly belongings into the car, ready for a hasty getaway?

      …be honest

      • No…honestly I believe my brother said something like…”hey…next time I’ll give you a ride.” He was older and had a car…and could run away any time.

  8. Diane, Great story…Hanging with the hobos on Sundays sounds like fun. Thanks for sharing it with Forrest, and thank you, Forrest and Dal, for sharing it with all of us. I love the drawing.

  9. I once hoboed out to Washington and took a wrong train that took me into Canada.

    It took 3 weeks, a big fine to get out of jail, to get out of Canada.

    Hoboing isn’t what it used to be.

    • Diggin, you may be right about this. Two words FF used
      relate (quite specifically/closely) to my search area. He
      doesn’t know, however, where I’ve been searching.

    • Diggin gypsy,

      I agree with you about the “hot’. I had said in other comments recently relative to him reading here and sending in new things ( subtle) to post. This pattern has increased lately. FF has said he reads here on this blog.

      People may very well be correct in being dismissive of subtleties to these recent series of ff ‘gets mail’ and stories. I happen to believe that the person or persons that he is subtlety ‘encouraging’ would be the one(s) to ‘pick up on it’. I see a pattern in the stories, the very subtle and not so subtle ‘winks’ in them. I would discern that the person(s) the ‘winks’ were intended for would be the one(s) to ‘see’ the winks. Whilst the others to whom it is not intended would simply not see the ‘wink’. There have been many ‘winks’ lately.

      I say thank you Forrest, I recognize them!

        • I haven’t searched yet at all. I have an area of strong interest. It is 2 strong areas within 80 kms radius of each. They are in the State of Colorado. I know in this story thread the girl is in Colorado Springs but that is not what I mean by subtle clues-that is not so subtle. The subtlety is many recent ff articles , this being one of them. But I am focused on Colorado . I just think ff is giving vague pinches to some posters he reads.

          I just may search this summer. I just need one more pinch from ff and I will. HAHAHAHA!

          Kookoo, Kookoo. I could be totally in left field but this is all in good fun non- the- less!

  10. I have said it before. I don’t believe that everything Mr. Fenn puts out there has hidden meaning. But the use of the term technicolor with a black and white scribble still image are the types of situations that I think deserve a closer look. I think when Mr. Fenn takes the liberty to use a word incorrectly he allows himself some liberties to derive and communicate a new meaning. Just an idea.

    • “I have a technicolor picture of me running through the brambles with Diane.”
      Clee, I’m not sure about the difference of black and white to visualizing in color. I find it interesting that he is taken back in time of thought, running through catch weed. That’s a strange picture to imagine.

      Like you said, maybe not a “hidden meaning” But it sure is interesting to imagine the brambles…

        • One definition of “Liberal” is:

          marked by generosity : openhanded <a liberal giver : given or provided in a generous and openhanded way

          I would be happy to be called a "Liberal" any day. JDA

          • @JDA,

            Sorry, the allusion was to “Liberal, Kansas”, Dorothy’s hometown. (not a political affiliation).

            I may have just “Fenned” you with a double meaning. I hope I haven’t O’Fennded you… 🙂

      • You know, combining the two subjects of the Wizard of Oz and Childhood Memories, I have always liked older women. I say this because be as a little boy I had a much bigger crush on Blinds the good witch than Dorothy. Weird huh? 🙂

    • Like the line ” They are brilliant poets, just like Forrest.”
      Isn’t she writing this to Forrest? Why would she say it like that? Why not, They are brilliant poets, just like you? Maybe f tripped himself up, it’s not that big of a deal, but, either a planned “oops”, or maybe f is telling a fictitious story. Where as if the latter, then hints would be within. This Diane sure sounds like f though.

      Then again, maybe it’s just an email from someone named Diane that sounds like f. 6 yrs. of this my brain is mush. Or pie, take your pick.

  11. Here’s an adventure with a different twist. My father, who had an affinity for firewater, decided that we didn’t need another stray dog. He loaded up myself and two older sisters to find him, the new dog not my father, a new home in the country. We reluctantly got in the car and away we went. We made it to the country but the firewater had begun to take its toll on the driver. It was lights out. My oldest sister was behind the driver seat and proceeded to lean over and steer the car while instructing the second oldest to work the pedals. Thank goodness it wasn’t a standard. I rode in the back and looked out of the window with awareness as to how close we were to roadside brush occasionally. We somehow made it safely home to our driveway. My mother, who had to work to feed us, instructed us to never get in the car with him again for such adventures and go hide if ever the chance happened again. I remember that like it was yesterday. They divorced and the craziness was over. The dog stayed. 🙂

  12. I’m sorry, I haven’t got any great train stories. I do have a train that goes by my house at 3 am every morning like clockwork.

  13. When I was in school I worked at the shelter in COS. I could not write my paper after that. I think I slept for 2 days.

  14. On the way back from our first trip we stopped somewhere in Arizona about midnight to sleep. We found a Taco Bell parking lot and pulled to the back. It ended up being right beside a train junction, there were at least five trains that went by in the next five hours. There was an automated horn that blasted four times for each train. The horn must have been right outside my truck. It was loud. I got up at sunup and noticed there were a series of houses right in front of my truck. I thought, how the heck did these folks get any sleep. The rent must have been free. Usually I like the sound of a train horn. Not in this case. So much for getting any sleep.

  15. Forrest and Readers, hope you are well and not ill,
    I have been reading these blogs for entertainment.
    Your thoughts can be amusing
    and my thought is to participate.
    for the First time I now will post on the chase.

    I too met a hobo not once but twice.
    I once met a hobo from Hoboken his name was ken.
    He said he listened to Haydn,
    And he spoke to me of many things.
    His words were like music,
    And his calmness tamed the spirit within.
    He didn’t have much so I picked him up again;
    I took him to a store to get some more.
    AFter the store he spoke to me the most curious words,
    He spoke softly and without any phase:

    “Lofty ideas are often Found in the basement
    To see the base and know the meaning
    To grasp thought and idea are no simple task
    When silence was a virtue we all
    Sought our own lofty ways.
    I learned one thing and I know it well
    It’s up to just the one or person
    To make us see and well I learned
    The one I listen to is me.”

    I heard those words and I slowly leaned Forward.
    Hobo ken, you really made me see.
    But I know in my heart it was not he.
    Since I recognize too, the one I listen too best is me.

    So I am considering that hobo’s
    and transportation corridors may
    be important to Understand House of brown.
    What would Bubba say? I wonder too.

    The Lofty Caribou
    Sings Softly in the Snow
    As the wind chases…..

  16. Train Stories, eh?

    When I was a lad of about 8 on the south side of Chicago, I used to fetch golf balls along the rail road tracks that bisected the local country club. The lane between the halves of the course was narrow and steep, as most of the length of track was in a ravine. (Oh, yes, we did used to put pennies on the track to see how long Lincoln’s face would become…). If you were ever in the ravine when the train came you high-tailed it up the side, but it wasn’t more than 20′ to the tracks and you really felt the breeze and vibrations of that huge locomotive and freight train (the coal cars were the loudest) as it passed – quite a striking event! After the train passed we’d look for an engineer in the caboose and always wave! One day after a particularly lucrative day of shagging golf balls (I made over $10!) I waved to the passing engineer and he threw something! I scrambled down the embankment and my chase ended at a large, crumpled Dixie cup. Inside, was a treasure of a dozen pieces of candy!

    ~ Wisconsin Mike

  17. This the second recent posting with a train/hobo reference. Forrest mentioned in another post about making a guitar pick for Roger Miller of “King of the Road” fame, about a hobo on a train. Maybe the 3rd boxcar is a clue. Darn, that’s a structure though. :O) But I wouldn’t bother searching in Bangor Maine if I were you!

  18. I was a kid into mischeif sometimes.

    When I was growing up in the 60s and 70s, my house backed up to the railroad tracks in NJ. We had 3 tracks with freight, 1 with sand trains, and 2 that were used as switchovers for trains heading to NYC and down the coast.

    We used to ride our dirt bikes on the tracks and hang out with the guys who worked on the trains. I remember one time we were hanging out on a caboose, and while the man left when it was parked, my friend and I helped ourselves to some “railway detonator torpedos”. Those were used to signal trains to stop in case of emergency. One day we decided it would be cool to mess with the rush hour trains heading into NY, so we placed a few of them on the tracks. Few minutes later, BAM BAM BAM (they are extremely loud and we put them in a tunnel), train stopped, men get out and look around.

    Very bad… But it would not have caused any harm to anyone, just an annoyance.

  19. The only hobo I met as a kid was Hobo Kelly (a local cartoon show host). 🙂

    (are railroad tracks considered a”human trail” ?)

  20. I used to drive a wildlife tour out of Vail, Co. years ago and would make a daily run to Leadville to pick up the van. I met my very good friend on that road one day. I would see him hitching back to Minturn a lot so I picked him up one day. He would ride the trains from Minturn to Leadville. He rode trains all over the world. You don’t want to get caught jumping a train though. Those workers will beat you up.
    Turns out I was driving by a treasure each time I went to Leadville. Another treasure hunt in the 80’s…can’t remember the name..I just remember they finally announced where it was hidden. It was buried under a National Forest sign between Minturn and Leadville. Drove by that thing 4 times a week.
    Road culture is still alive. Folks are tough but have community of sorts and too, know where the good places are and fresh water and such. Though you know if you meet someone it’s just as easy for them to be gone the next day. I am laughing at the kid grabbing food as you leave the restaurant…now that’s a true story. LOL I know where it happened and actually spoke to the woman it happened to. Her husband nailed the kid btw.

  21. Is it just me, or is that a fishhook made to look like 2 arms on the male figure? Also, his forward leg looks very much like a “1”. More obviously there is a “2” on the female figure’s forward leg. I think this drawing might mean that one man and 2 women are close….very close. Running in front of the pack. The women may have hooked the man in, lol, or perhaps their solves are very similar. Wonder if they know each other or are separate searchers…hmmm.

    • Well spotted, sandyb. There was someone else very recently, a new name in the chase, who posted something which made me think that some women were getting close.

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