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Part Of Their Annual Pilgrimage, Hoboes Stop In Water Valley

Lynn Bearce, the 2008 National Queen of the Hoboes, is known as Lady Sonshine. She visited Water Valley last week.

By Jack Gurner

Water Valley is a sweet town according to Lynn Bearce who is known as Lady Sonshine in the hobo world where she reigns as Queen.

“When we come here,” she said, “there’s a taste of coming home. I don’t know how to explain it.”

Bearce and several other hoboes passed through town last week on their way to Jackson, Tennessee. They had just come from the annual railroad festival in Amory.

The hoboes will travel to several gatherings around the country before ending up in Britt, Iowa, the week of August 7 for the National Hobo Convention.

Normally they would have spent a week here for what would have been the sixth annual Water Valley Hobo Gathering. But, a conflict in the dates caused organizers to cancel the local gathering.

“I look forward to coming to Water Valley,” Bearce said. “It’s pleasant. Everyone that we have met is so nice.”

Bearce, of Guilford, Maine, is one-third of “Serenity,” the National Hobo Gospel Singers. The other members of the group are Blue Moon and Lady Nightingale. All three live in Maine and have reigned as National Hobo Queen.

During last year’s Water Valley gathering, the group’s impromptu performance at Turnage Drug Store was recorded for a National Public Radio segment. The group performed there again this year and all three plan on being back again next year.

“We know where to get some of the best ice cream and fellowship,” Bearce said of Turnage’s.

She also believes that the Water Valley Hobo Gathering will get bigger. But, she said, it would just take a while for Water Valley people to see that the hoboes are a pretty good lot.

“They are going to want to get to know us better and we want to get to know them better,” she added.

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