Two years had gone by since his stay with the Plain People. During those two years Joseph traveled on his own on back roads and trails. He spent time with vagabond families that traveled as work was found. He stayed with them in shelter buildings and worked the ground for the property owners. Many times, there would be a harvest feast of seconds from the fields.
As he roamed by himself, he often lived on his own eating berries, lemon grass, nuts, seeds, and occasionally pilfered vegetables from unattended gardens.
He learned from the traveling workers how to manage life. “If you don’t have a permanent home, you learn to live off the land, you take refuge where Nature allows. The work was hard and I was always worn out by the end of the day. But it felt good to work with friends, to share the load and watch everyone take care of each other.”
He was in and out of small towns and communities. But never felt comfortable. It never felt like where he should be.
But this town he had found, Laurel Run, felt right. It was a small village of regular folks and just entering the town, there was a calm that came over Joseph. “This might be it. This could really be where I am supposed to stay.”
He missed his foster friends and the Zimmerman family, but knew he was meant to be in this town now. It felt right.
He looked down at his jacket. It was smart of him to hide it near that cave close to the Zimmerman Home. The name tag was still there. As long as he had the jacket and name tag, he knew who he was.
This small town was different than anything he had known before. At first, he hid behind some barrels in a back alley, just getting the feel of it. There were several back stoops behind some stores that were not used very often, so he spent time sleeping there or hanging out.
Not knowing his way around, put Joseph at a disadvantage. “It feels right being here in this town, but I have to find some safe places.” He ducked around into side streets and alleyways and open fields just on the edge of town. He had good experience from previous living situations and knew what to look for – to be safe.