Hoboes, Little Ladies and Libraries
The noisy freight train rumbled into the tiny town as the sun cast its long shadows over the earth. It chugged past the red brick library, filling Homer's heart with a yearning he couldn’t ignore. "Mama took me to our town library when I was a boy. Taught me right from wrong, too. She thought I’d become a writer someday. Now look at me - a hobo jumping trains lookin' fer work."
He vaulted from the boxcar and hustled to the hobo jungle
"Got a good meal today." Homer spoke. "The little lady asked me to wait in the yard, while she fixed me a banquet. She didn’t trust me – shooed her young’ns inside. Then she told me about her friend Jesus. Said He has a better plan fer my life than this. I think that is stranger than fiction." he mused.
Guffaws echoed. Slapping Charlie on the back, Old Joe mocked on. "I've met some of them thar Christians who don't amount to a hill of beans. They refused to give me scraps that waren’t fit fer the dogs. B'sides, you don't even know what fiction is."
"Ya know, Ol’ Joe, she mentioned that kind of people. Said God commands her to feed the hungry. She gave me a Bible. Told me to read the book of John - even marked some verses fer me.”
Homer added, “Yeah, I reckon I do know what fiction is. This shore ain't no kind of real life."
"Anybody want a drink?" Charlie guzzled stinky, fermented wine. "I got more 'an this, too." he boasted. Most hoboes stayed sober but liquor had wrapped its evil chains around Charlie.
Homer sprung to his feet, grabbed his bindle and threw it over his shoulder. "I’m not hungry. You fellers can divide what ya scrounged up for supper. I'm goin' to town."
The little lady’s words intrigued him. “God first wants my heart. Then He’ll show me His plan fer my life. I’m gonna figure out what she meant about getting ‘saved’ – something ‘bout trustin’ Jesus.”
Hardly a soul crossed his path as he moseyed to the library. The empty park bench in front of the building begged him to rest.
He read until the sun’s light turned off. Under the stars in the crisp, cool night, he lay wide-awake, meditating. The Holy Spirit tenderly wooed him to an understanding of salvation by God’s grace through faith. He fell into a deep, peaceful sleep.
The sound of keys jingling, unlocking the library door nudged Homer awake. He gave the librarian time to open shop before entering.
“The lady told me to read a few books on prayer to learn how to walk close to God. Said Mr. Spurgeon and Mr. Bounds wrote some good ones. I’ll have to find ‘em.” he thought.
“You don’t have an address in this town, sir? You can’t borrow books but you can read them here if you’d like,” the librarian suggested. He ate books for breakfast, lunch and dinner, not realizing his physical hunger, until the library closed.
Homer became a permanent fixture sleeping on the park bench by night and devouring books by day, saturating himself with words about the love of God. He found a few odd jobs around town to buy food, a notebook and a pen.
“Only one more hobo run to make,” Homer resolved. The train whistle blew loud and long. Running light-footed in sync with thundering wheels, timing it exactly right, he grabbed hold of the bars and boosted himself into the cow crate. A dirty coal car would afford more comfort, but tonight this would have to do.
“If I figured it right I’ll reach my destination tomorrow. Only two more boxcars to hop. I’ll have to bathe when I find a water hole.” He continued mapping out his plans.
Speaking to the librarian in his hometown he asked, “Ma’am, do you know if Millie Burns still lives in this burg?”
Bewilderment changed to recognition as she and Homer squarely faced each other.
“Homer, is it really you? God brought you back! How did you know to find me at the library?”
“I’ve been studying and taking many notes, Mother. And I’ve learned a lot about praying. I’ll have to tell you all about another little lady and another library God used to show me His better plan and my way home. My hobo days are over.”
Psalm 32:8…I will guide thee with mine eye. KJV
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