With a beautiful Minnesota evening, I decided to take a very ordinary walk around Fairmont’s Sisseton Lake. By myself. Typically my husband joins me on these walks but was tied up fixing a semi-truck he recently bought from an auction. It seems a raccoon had a heyday in the truck’s wiring.
So I decided to take the walk solo.
Now I have taken this exact walk many, many times. But today I decided to be present in the moment as I walked. To take note what was around me, the sites, the sounds, the smells. And I soon realized what was normally a very ordinary walk, was today, perhaps a bit un-ordinary.
Part of the history of Fairmont, MN was the hobo camp. Now I am going to be honest, I have never stopped to read the sign nor do I know much about the Hobo Camp. But, today, I stopped and read the sign. And now, I want to know more.
The Hobo Camp existed from the 1920s to the 1950s and was the site of hobos, tramps, squatters, homeless and those who were looking for work wherever possible. These people would stop at the site of the bridges and camp out until the time came for them to catch the train and move to where the jobs were located. This particular camp was located near Sisseton Lake. The thought of hobos camping in the early 1900’s intrigues me. I wonder who these people were and what their life was like. This is why I love history!
I truly was not expecting this encounter. These were young fawn and were curious about who and what I was. I could not believe how they kept walking towards me. Eventually, they heard a noise in the distance that scared them, causing them to scamper away.
Little Free Library
Being present, I continued my walk and noticed things I usually would not have noticed. I listened to unseen children playing in backyards, watched and listened to ducks quack and wander their way back to the lake. Further into my walk I heard and watched an older muscle car, with it’s one-of-a-kind engine sound drive by, and watched people walk out of a local funeral home and wondered who passed away and what impact they may have had in their life. By allowing myself to be present, I was able to think and ask quiet questions in my head about each of these stories.
Then I came upon this. I love these Little Free Libraries. They are so quaint and personal and trusting. And I especially love that they are located in very ordinary, random places.
Small Town America
As I continued my walk near downtown, I thought to myself how lucky I am to live in a small town in rural America such as Fairmont. A community where we are proud of who we are and thankful for what we have. I love our history. The possibilities for our community are endless, as is the story of other communities.
And that is how my ordinary walk became a most un-ordinary walk.
There is a book by ? Sullivan, a local author (from your area) that includes a little information about the “hobo era”, but based in Worthington if memory serves. Maybe you have read it…
Wanda Patsche says
I need to check it out! Thanks!