After I scoped the town out and whet my whistle to wash away the dust I headed to seek out Flatcar Frank in the Hobo Jungle along the tracks in the shadows of the silos. You see Britt, Iowa is a grain town founded by the railroad, for the railroad and remains about the railroad. The late 50's style buildings and Main street made you think that Marty McFly would speed by in the McLaren time machine any minute. Fortunately Flatcar Frank was there to show me around and give me the inside scoop on the town and the lay of the land. Well, before I knew it I was a sitting down near the soon to be lit campfire swapping stories, shootin the bull and listening to tunes sung by new friends written by their departed friend and fellow hobo, Liberty Justice. I hung out with the likes of Backwoods Jack, Frog, Tuck, Redbird, Slim Tim, Peacher Steve and the Colinwood Kid not to mention the better half of the crowd like soon to be crowned queen Minneapolis Jewel, Connecticutt Shortie, Sunrise, the Serenity Sisters and Mad Mary... who isn't mad at all.
There was never an idle moment, Thursday was the big Pig Roast for dinner with all the fixin's followed by the Ceremony of the Four Winds where the lighting of the campfire was attended by hundreds. Friday was a moving Memorial Ceremony for those who 'caught the westbound' during the past year. Saturday was the big parade including the Hobo float , the coronation of the new King and Queen and of course, Mulligan stew. Every night there was music around the campfire provided by hobo musicians. In true folk tradition there was a pass the hat for those musicians while many others took part in the hobo shuffle, a celebratory dance around the campfire. The setting was awesome...a stage in front of an old tree near the tracks where musicians basked in the glow of the campfire with a full moon as their spotlight. I have to tell you there was some great songs that came out in front of that campfire. Every night the session ended with a jam band of Harmonica Don, Trucker Phil, the Serenity Sisters and former Hobo Queen Sunrise. I had the honor of joining them Friday and Saturday night for those final sets....a wonderful experience. If you want to know more ask me the next time I'm within your circle. I have stories...I'll tell you about my 2 Main Street Museum shows... and I may have a new song or two about life on the rails.