Last Updated on Friday, 05 August 2011 14:31 Friday, 05 August 2011 14:12
Dear Friends and Supporters,
Yesterday I learned the very sad news that one of our regular guests at the Sunday FOCUS Minnesota meal, known to us as Railroad Randy, was killed by a car while riding his bike.
Randy was on his way from the Twin Cities, by bicycle, to attend the Hobo Convention in Britt Iowa. Randy lived the life of a bona fide hobo for many years and for months shared with us his plans to go to the upcoming event and run for Hobo King.
On July 24th, his last dinner with us, we talked and he told me he was leaving that Tuesday morning to allow him enough time to get to Iowa, set up camp and begin campaigning before the convention commenced on August 12th. He was very excited that the time was finally here to make the trip and he had a fierce desire to be elected Hobo King, a title he would hold for the coming year.
This past winter Randy was especially proud of a photo display he was invited to display at the Walker Public Library on Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis, which chronicled a brief history--really Randy's history--of life as a hobo for the past 30 years. I asked him if he would bring the display to the center for all to see and he agreed. He was very protective of it and had to pick a good, clear day as he had to ride to the center with the display strapped to his bike.
He was quite the character, with his long white beard and a taste for bad jokes and silly puns. He rarely missed a Sunday with us. I think he was drawn to the fellowship and the connection he felt to our little village on Lake Street. I asked if I could take his picture the last time I saw him and he was happy to oblige.
Following the very short news item in the St. Paul Pioneer Press newspaper, a later news item reported he was hit by a drunk driver. This is especially sad and ironic because Randy was an alcoholic for 30 years but was clean and sober now for another 15+. The newspaper lists his age as 60 though he told me he was 67. It doesn't matter. He was killed just north of Britt Iowa--he almost made it.
May his memory be eternal.
Vera Proctor, Local Director FOCUS Minneso