Trampin’ gets in yo’ blood. Didn’t b’lieve it when I was young, but it does. It’s the truth. Ran ‘way from home in ’55. I was sixteen. Didn’t know a thing. Didn’t know where I was goin’ or how I’d get there if I did know. Ran into an old fruit tramp in Georgia. Met him unda’ a bridge. I was sleepin’ unda’ there, an’ woke up an’ he was sittin’ there with me. Fed me an’ took me with him down to Florida. He wasn’t no queer, nuthin’ like that. Showed me how to catch a train an’ tol’ me all about the railroad. I didn’t even know what a mainline was back then. We picked citrus. Slept in orange groves all winta. He’s prob’ly dead an’ gone by now. He musta been sixty, sixty-five when we met up. That’d put him close to ninety now. He ain’t on the railroad, that’s fo’ sure. Not at ninety he ain’t. Never asked me fo’ nuthin’. Fed me fo’ a week or mo’ b’fo’ we got work. Always thought I’d run into him again somewhere down the line. Never did though. We split up when the citrus was done. Me an’ anotha’ fella made our way out West. Tramped all around the West, workin’ fruit, odd jobs.
My momma told me it takes a lot less muscles to smile than it does to frown. I been stabbed three times and I can still smile. I be fixin’ to head south come winter. It gets in yo’ blood. You stay in a town too long an’ you get itchin’ to move.