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Hobo Night in Homewood on Oct. 13 was the first without Hobo Joe, aka Joe Krol. 

Krol died Sept. 2 at age 75. He had been a mainstay and driving force for the Hobo Night event since 2009. He was appointed to the village Rail Committee in 2004, according to Homewood Events Manager Allisa Opyd.

At every Hobo Night, he portrayed Hobo Joe to delight local children with tales from rail history.


“He dressed up as a hobo, told hobo and rail stories, and as children arrived they were given a hobo name. He would explain how hobos would receive their moniker,” Opyd said. “Joe had a passion for all things trains. He brought that passion and enthusiasm to the Rail Committee and at every event.”

Krol also created a rail display in the Homewood Public Library lobby each May.

Hobo Joe, aka Joe Krol, entertaining the crowd at Hobo Night a few years ago. Krol, who helped develop the rail history event, died in September. (Provided photo by Annie Lawrence)
  Hobo Joe, aka Joe Krol,
  entertaining the crowd at
  Hobo Night a few years ago.
  Krol, who helped develop
  the rail history event, died
  in September.
  photo by Annie Lawrence)
He was an active member of St. Joseph’s Parish in Homewood. He was an usher and part of the Lenten Fish Fry committee. 
“Rail events, services and fish fries at St. Joseph will not be the same without Joe Krol there,” Opyd said. “He will be truly missed.”

New spoken word event
Amy and I went to the first spoken word event, Bird is the Word, at Redbird Cafe on Oct. 18. Storyteller Greg Weiss created the series, which will meet every third Thursday at 7 p.m., with an open-mic format and few restrictions. He invites people to read or recite; to share poetry, prose or plays; to perform as individuals or in small groups. 

He doesn’t want media presentations — the words should be spoken, not displayed — but that’s about the only restriction. 

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it turned out to be a lively and enlightening evening. 

Paul, the Redbird Cafe cook, emerged from the kitchen to get things started with a version of the creation story told in his rich, deep voice. It’s a story every Christian is familiar with, but I don’t remember it being so compelling when I heard it in Sunday school long ago.

Then Amy read a portion of a chapter on Fannie Lou Hamer from “Tough Mothers: Amazing Stories of History’s Mightiest Matriarchs,” by Jason Porath. The story of Hamer’s tenacious fight to register for the vote in early 1960s Mississippi was horrifying and inspiring.

And it generated a great discussion among the racially mixed audience.

Tasha V. and Elisha responded with original pieces from their blogs. Tasha also read “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou. Weiss read one of his favorite poems, which connected with the themes of other readings. And Mary read “Winkin’, Blinkin’ and Nod,” a childhood favorite that left everyone in the room with a nostaglic glow.

If you love the art of the word, Bird is the Word will be your thing. Bring your words and your voices and give it a try.

Homewood Stories soon to turn 5
Speaking of spoken word arts, Homewood Stories will celebrate its fifth anniversary in January. The storytelling show meets at Ravisloe Country Club at 7:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month.
Founder Karen O’Donnell brings the best tellers from around town and from the city. Some have national reputations. I’m sure the anniversary show will be something special.

The magic of newspaper coupons
Magic might be a slight exaggeration, but newspaper coupons are pretty cool. In our October edition we had six coupon ads. Readers could use them to save money on groceries, a tasty meal, a delicious frozen yogurt, a haircut or dental service. Saving money is good.

It might not be immediately evident, but using those coupons helps the community in other ways. It helps the local businesses, and it helps those businesses justify advertising in your local newspaper. 

Currently, the Chronicle’s primary source of revenue is advertising. That’s how we pay reporters, pay the printer, pay the designer and pay the post office to bring the paper right to your home each month. 

When you use coupons, you’re helping keep the Chronicle going — and saving money in the process.

Corrections and clarifications
In the October edition, on page seven, in the caption for the photo showing the ribbon-cutting ceremony at Bookie’s New and Used Books, Langston Lewis’s first name was misspelled. Our apologies to Langston and his family.

In the September edition, on page two, we reported that the new Homewood Arts Council was planning to use space in the vacant Triumph Building at 2033 Ridge Road for a gallery. HAC officials later learned that the space would require too much renovation to be habitable, so that plan was abandoned. The organization continues to seek a home for its planned gallery.



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