Back in the days when Dink would come through Austin and borrow money for a venture or a vehicle to drive until his boat would come in, it always kept me needing to contact him.
This was during a time he would be headed off to Alaska to mine gold one time and then off to Africa to mine for diamonds the next time.
Or another time when he made a little remote controlled oil gobbler that would go out into the water and clean up oil spills. Yes this was different than the containment diaper to strap onto barges or ships.
It’s not that Dink wasn’t creative, it was his lack of carry through with things. He got bored easily, I think.
This was a long time before the internet so I developed a network of contacts that helped me keep up with him.
Once he had been in Africa for several months and was due to arrive back in the states. There were reasons that I didn’t expect to hear from him when he arrived back in Texas.
Dink seldom kept a permanent address anywhere during those days. He lived in hotels. But I knew his habits so well that I called a motel in north Houston and he answered the phone within 2 hours of landing at the a Houston airport. He hadn’t even checked in under his own name.
Mind you I wasn’t that desperate to talk to him but it was more of an opportunity for me to throw him off balance more than anything.
I knew where he liked to stay. I called the airlines to see what time various airlines would be arriving from Cape Town, South Africa. I kept good notes.
When I called the Vagabond Motel (yes that really was his favorite to stay in north Houston) I asked for George McDuff and when they said he hadn’t checked in, for some reason I said, “has George Stockton made it in yet”? When the girl said, yes he just arrived a few minutes ago, I knew I’d hit pay dirt.
I’m not sure how I even knew to ask for him by that name.
That was his mother’s maiden name. It was purely a guess.
But when he answered the phone and I was on the other end, he was spooked. That’s really what I was most interested in.
He came up to Austin in a couple of days. I think more wanting to know how I found out he was back in the country and how I found him so quickly.
I don’t remember ever telling him how I knew so much.
That was the start of a hobby for me of doing skip tracing. After the Internet came along I was able to hone my skills and can find out more than I should about almost anyone.
But you just have to be careful how you use it.
Once I had a son that was dating a young lady. The first time I met her and she told me where she was from, I said oh, do you happen to know John Smith and his wife Suzy (not their real names). They were her parents next door neighbors. Then I ask if she knew this other couple, her parents neighbors on the other side. She was amazed. But then I told her I was only playing with her, that I really didn’t know anyone from the town where she was from.
She laughed and we all laughed.
When she went home next, she was telling the story to her mother. Her mother didn’t laugh.
Oh well, you win some and loose some.
Time passed and after a while a wedding took place in her hometown near Houston. All was going well until at the reception she wanted to introduce me to the neighbors that lived on each side of her parents.
I told her that’s just fine, I really don’t need to meet them.