chapter  16
6 Pages

Going home

And so went the stories of the tramps, mostly variations on few themes. I’d accumulated a few dollars; enough to get me back to Boston and to my now very odd-sounding life as a graduate student, so I decided to leave on a Saturday morning, late in the harvest. I’d become friends with the foreman and had told him of my plans to write about the tramp life, and so he offered to take me around the harvest town for an evening. I went with him that night through bar after bar where watered bourbon cost thirty-fi ve cents and Lucky Lager chasers a dime. The bars were full of harvest money but they were depressing; surprisingly quiet and dismal. By midnight most of the men were passed out in booths or stumbling drunk. I recognized a man we’d jungled with and I approached him as I’d approach an old friend, but there was no sign of recognition as he mumbled drunkenly, “Do you have a quarter for a drink?”