I have been aware of and interacted with the homeless, street people and hobos in Amarillo since the mid-1960s. The hobos who used to camp out under and near the Line Street overpass over the former Rock Island Railroad line were among my favorites to talk to and learn from. Changes in railroad shipping practices since then have all but eliminated the notion of "catching a freighter" to travel cross-country.
The street people of Amarillo today have their own reasons for their state of affairs. Some actually choose to live in tents or makeshift shelters in the same location for years. This is the case with "Papa" Wayne, a Vietnam War vet I have known and interacted with for more than a decade.
I first covered the Oldham County Roundup in Vega Texas during 2004 shooting stills and video. I have covered many annual county celebrations throughout the Panhandle and I declare this one is one of my favorites.
For visitors, I recommend arranging for lodging in Vega for Friday night. The following video clip starts with the BBQ and street dance Friday evening then finishes up with highlights on the courthouse square.
Mary Tom was born Aug. 27, 1918, in Vernon to Verna Johnson and Sal Morgan,a prominent oil and gas attorney. The last of three children, she moved to Amarillo at age 7 and never wanted to leave.
Mary Tom graduated from Amarillo High School and Stephens College. She attended the University of Texas and graduated from the University of Wisconsin. She married David Rasco, in 1941; he preceded her in death in 1955. After his death, she worked as a journalist at the Amarillo Globe-News, where she wrote an advice column and a health and science column.