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(Ralph J. Perrico)
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Views of a Modern Hobo Nickel Carver...
The canvas may be the same, but the times are certainly different. You'll not find me sitting beside the railroad tracks with a pocket knife in hand, scratching at nickel with a can of beans being warmed by the nearby fire. No, you'll see me peering into a stereomicroscope in a climate-controlled house. The nickel I carve won't be bartered for a warm place to sleep or my next hot meal. What then, you may ask, do I share with the original hobo nickel carvers. I too can undeniably lose myself into that small disk of metal. My long day at the office can not compare to a long walk down the tracks, and dealing with coworkers can not compare to the mean-spirited people who looked down on hobos. I do however; picture my escape into a small carving called a hobo nickel, a very similar relaxing escape from the unpleasantries which surround us both. While watching myself slowly shape metal, time and the adverse day's events melt away. Am I a hobo? No, but I believe, I share an undeniable link with the original hobo nickel carvers.
(by Ralph J. Perrico)
December 20th 2004