chapter  18
13 Pages

Whither the tramp?

When I wrote the fi rst edition of Good Company, the apple harvest in the Pacifi c Northwest was one of the last economic magnets to draw the tramp worker. As had been the case in the tramps’ earlier work, he showed up when needed and disappeared when the work was done. Tramps could travel on freights because railroad crews were lenient when the workers needed to get to the job or leave town when it was over. In a system that no one publicly acknowledged, the needs of the orchard owners, the fruit pickers and the local economies were all met. The police kept things moving by rounding up workers-turned-eyesores who had lingered too long after the harvest, and the police put them on the trains to cleanse their communities.