The Martin’s, Father and Son Roadhands

Uncle Bob Martin worked for me a couple of times in the 70s. He was slow and steady but was accomplishing something with every motion. He was my maternal grandmother, Nancy’s brother.

Uncle Bob’s oldest son Butch Martin worked for me several times. We was opposite of his Dad. He was fast and all over everything, but man could he move dirt. You just always knew it wouldn’t last long, before he’d twist off and not show up. Each time I’d swear that was the last. But he had an uncanny way of arriving when you most needed someone in the seat of that dozer, so I’d put him back to work each time.

He traveled to Houston with us in 1977 and when we left a few months later he hired on with a dirt contractor that he stayed with for many years – until his death. (he did leave the other company and came back to Austin for a short while in the mid 80s.)

We had just bought a nice 30 acre tract of ground in Dripping Springs and had moved a D-8 in to it to build a stock tank up close to the front of the place.

I said Butch, this is about how big I want it and make it as deep as you can.

I showed him a nice live oak tree that had a beautiful large swooping 6” diameter limb that traveled across the ground. It was the center piece and Madeline and I had decided how to incorporate that low limb into our new entry.

“Do not get near that limb, Butch”.

I came back that afternoon and Butch had the stock tank finished. It was beautifully dressed and ready for seeding. I was expecting it to take a month of me working on weekends and afternoons to complete.

I then looked over at the beautiful low swooping limb. Butch had backed the track of that dozer along the full length of it, the grousers leaving it chopped into very consistent short pieces of firewood. Each piece was the length between each track grouser.

I was speechless. That was the only day Butch worked that time.

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